Two weeks ago Guzman y Gomez launched a campaign called Fix Fast Food to draw attention to its decision to serve 100 per cent free-range chicken (and now stall-free sow) across its Australian stores. In Sydney the fast-food company organised a “Freedom Rally” at World Square protesting the use of non-free-range chicken. In Melbourne it commissioned a mural in the middle of the city naming and shaming fast-food outlets such as McDonald’s, Hungry Jack’s, Subway, KFC, Mad Mex and Grill’d. The mural consisted of imagery of sick-looking chickens with chains on their legs and branded paper bags over their heads.
Within a few days of the mural being painted the landlord who manages the wall received so much pressure from the fast food companies that he/she painted it over.
Now Guzman y Gomez is behind a very similar mural in Sydney, at the intersection of Enmore Road and King Street, right up the road from Oporto.
“Street art has the power to draw attention, spark debate and make people stand up and take action,” Guzman y Gomez founder Steven Marks told Broadsheet. “The message of the mural is confronting and in Melbourne it hit a nerve with a few fast food companies who weren't particularly happy with us for airing the industry's dirty laundry. The louder we are, the harder they are going to try to censor us, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop.”
The aim is to change the fast food industry in Australia.
Although Guzman y Gomez’s new stance on free-range chicken might influence the way big fast-food outlets buy chicken, it’s hard to ignore what Guzman y Gomez stands to gain from taking a stance; this is essentially an ad for its product, an encouragement to eat at Guzman y Gomez over food from other chains.
Marks chose the prominent spot in Newtown for the mural because “Guzman y Gomez was born in Newtown, almost a decade ago now. We opened our first taqueria on King Street in 2006, so we thought, ‘Why not bring the mural home?’”
“The message of Fix Fast Food – that you shouldn’t have to choose between ethical food and fast food – speaks to Aussies everywhere. There is a lot of confusion about what welfare standards actually mean when you put them into practice. We expect and welcome that conversation,” says Marks.
“We’re also in talks with a number of organisations, including Animals Australia, to continue to build momentum and make sure we’re leading this industry change.”
Time will tell if the mural suffers the same fate as in Melbourne, or if the campaign has its desired affect of furthering conversation around ethical practices in the industry.