Scottish brewery BrewDog’s ‘Dead Pony Club’ beer has been found guilty of ‘breaking the Portman Group’s marketing rules’. According to the Portman Group, which provides the secretariat for the Independent Complaints Commission, the beer’s label encourages anti-social behaviour and rapid-drinking, with phrases like ‘drink fast, live fast’ and ‘rip it up down empty streets’.
Retailers have been advised not to stock the drink in its current guise.
BrewDog, not averse to controversy having forced drinks giant Diageo into an apology for ‘rigging’ a beer award, called the ASA ‘mother fuckers‘ and sold beer bottles encased in the bodies of dead animals, has responded by issuing a formal apology to the Portman Group for ‘not giving a shit’.
James Watt, co-founder of BrewDog commented:
“On behalf of BrewDog PLC and its 14,691 individual shareholders, I would like to issue a formal apology to the Portman Group for not giving a shit about today’s ruling. Indeed, we are sorry for never giving a shit about anything the Portman Group has to say, and treating all of its statements with callous indifference and nonchalance.”
I asked BrewDog’s PR agency’s MD Alex Myers if BrewDog would be affected by the ‘ruling':
@AlexMyers I did and do. So, do they have to change the packaging now?
— Rich Leigh (@RichLeighPR) April 28, 2014
He replied, saying ‘they don’t need to do anything, technically’, adding that ‘it’s not the first time this has happened. The last time, the product was called Speedball’.
I asked if it had an effect on sales and he said:
@richleighpr A positive effect, yeah.
— Alex Myers (@AlexMyers) April 28, 2014
Fair play to BrewDog for sticking to their traditionally unapologetic brand stance, its quick statement has taken what was essentially a non-story sparked by an impotent organisation and turned it into something very shareable that will please its anti-establishment fans and, if history repeats itself, increase sales, too.
Involved agency: Manifest LDN