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Canadian Beer company’s Anti-Drinking, Driving ad Brews Controversy

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A Canadian beer company’s advert asking people to avoid drink driving has attracted controversy as many say it sends a wrong message to children.

The Labatt ad, which appeared at Mac’s Convenience Stores across Ontario in November, says, “Leave one out for Santa. He’s driving,” and shows a bottle of Labatt’s Blue de-alcoholized beer.

However, it looks like people are not happy with the campaign.

“I don’t think that’s quite appropriate,” the Toronto Sun quoted Kathleen Clifford, 65, as saying.

She added: “Children see that and they think we’d better leave beer for Santa instead of cookies and milk…. I have grandchildren and great-granchildren and I don’t approve of it. “Maybe I’m an old fuddy-duddy.”

Another said she could also see how the ad might offend some.

Maryann Green, 22, a student at the Ryerson University, said: “I also don’t have children, so I’m fairly indifferent to it.”

However, Labatt said the advert was made to advice people against drunken driving.

Catherine Pringle, corporate affairs manager of Labatt Breweries, said: “It’s reminding people, especially during this holiday season, when people are going out to celebrate, not to drink and drive…. Some of the posters direct people to makingaplan.ca, which is a website to plan ahead and reinforcing people not to drink and drive.”

But Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at the Schulich School of Business at York University has a different take on the ad.

He said: “They’re positioning that you can have a beer and you’re still safe to drive, but they can’t control how many of those 0.5pc beers people consume.

“They thought being this lower alcohol would get them off the hook, but I don’t think it does. This is a silly ad and if they’ve got a decent product, it should be powerful enough.

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Friday, November 17, 5:38 pm

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