Tuesday, August 6, 2013

You Can't Beer The Truth....

I have an update on my last post about the Sam Adams beer commercial where they quoted the Declaration of Independence in an attempt to be patriotic. I see it as an attempt to sell more beer. Period. And when they quoted the passage they deliberately left out the words, "by our Creator". 
So, for those of you that know me, then you know when I get irked by something a company does or doesn't do, I don't have a problem writing to them and having my say. Which is what I did in this case. 
Here is what I wrote to their corporate office:
 I have been a loyal Sam Adams buyer for many years. After seeing your ad which appeared over the past Independence Day holiday I will no longer buy any of your products. With your omission of a few words about our Creator in your quote,  you have shown that you are more concerned with being politically correct than you are with  showing your true patriotism. I have principles that I live by and I am proud that I stand by them. I will spend a dollar to regain a penny if principal is involved. You will no longer receive any of my business and I will ask everyone I know to do the same.

A few days after I sent that email I received a reply from their "External Relations" director. I guess that means they also have a director of Internal Relations. (Make your own joke here).
Below is the entire email I received:
Dear Ken Stephens,
Thank you for your message about our recent TV ad and our use of some words from the Declaration of Independence, without the phrase “by our Creator.” We apologize that the omission offended you. That was never our intent. As you may already know, we adhere to an advertising code, established by the Beer Institute – a beer industry trade organization. The code states, "Beer advertising and marketing materials should not include religion or religious themes." We agree with that, and follow those guidelines in our advertising and responsibly marketing our products.

We understand your objection to the omission of the phrase "by our Creator" in other circumstances (after all, these words occur in the Declaration of Independence which our namesake, Samuel Adams, signed), and, in this case, we believe it would be outside our industry guidelines and inappropriate to invoke the deity in a beer commercial. We also want to let you know that this commercial was developed to run exclusively around Independence Day, and is no longer on the air. We appreciate your getting in touch with us to express your concerns and sensitizing us to your point of view. Thank you for giving us a chance to respond.

We really do rely on consumers to be the judges of our work and we appreciate your taking the time to reach out.

Michelle Sullivan
Senior Director of External Relations
Boston Beer Company

So it appears that they are blaming the omission of the word "Creator" on the Beer Institute and their rule of not allowing religion or religious themes. So they just decided to edit the Declaration of Independence and still use it to sell beer. Would it really be using a religious theme or "invoking the deity" by simply quoting the entire Declaration? I think not. As a matter of fact, I went to the Beer Institute's web-site and read their advertising rules. And they do have a long list of no-no's. Most seem to be about age requirements, and not appearing to be aimed at people under 21, as well as not using models in commercials that are not at least 25 years old. Oh, and you can't have any beer ad with Santa Claus in it.... I'm serious.

But Michelle at Sam Adams was telling the truth. Line 7 of the rules does say:

"Beer advertising and marketing materials should not employ religion or religious themes".

Yes, line 7 is just one sentence. I guess it is open to interpretation. I take it to mean that you can't have God or Budda or the Pope sitting on a bar stool while taking a long drink of a frothy-headed beer and making that "Ahhhhhhh" sound after they swallow. Or make up your own image.

If I haven't bored you by now and you want to read more, here is the link to the Beer Institute's rules about advertising. Beer Rules - (I guess that could have a double meaning huh?)

I'd also like to point out this quote from Benjamin Franklin in a letter addressed to André Morellet in 1779:
Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine, a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.
Over the years, Ben has been misquoted as saying:

Either way I know he's talking about an alcoholic beverage and bringing God into the conversation. And I take no offense. Do you?

So, thank you Michelle and thank you Samuel Adams beer. I still will not buy your products and your feeble attempt to shift the blame doesn't work on me.

Did I mention "Buy Yuengling!" ?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Looking forward to your comments but please remember they will be seen by all.