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Just an anecdote and bordering on off-topic I guess, but the "vegetarian/vegan tastes better/best than meat" is a point that I (a non-vegan!) have found myself defending multiple times. In fact, my safest bet when trying a new cuisine is to go for vegan-est dishes, for taste alone.

When I express this socially, I typically find others agreeing.

So this sprinkled insistence on "veganism defended for taste is suspicious" is suspicious to me, and makes me go meta. It's not the point of the post however so I'll drop it here.

It's great to have the positive example, and it'd be great too to have some concrete negative example of the ads that were unsuccessful. 
Or maybe it's not really that they weren't unsuccessful but rather just "ambient-level"?

I'd also be very interested in both Lanier and Gupta's views. But, could you elaborate on why you'd expect Lanier to be "probably controversial in EA circles"?