Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Coors Beer, Toronto and the Weather...a Lethal Mix?

by Lisa Ovens

The City of Toronto speaks, and my God do they listen...
I am still trying to sort out how I feel about Coors Beer removing some billboard ads located in BC that offended people in Toronto. The ad simply said " Colder than most people in Toronto."

First of all, according to an article written by reporter Jeff Lee of the Vancouver Sun, only 20 people complained about the billboard ads. That apparently was enough to put Molson Coors in action, and end the campaign a few weeks early. Why couldn't they have left the ads up and said..."well it's cold in Toronto, and their winters are long, so wouldn't that make most people in Toronto cold?". This was a beer campaign that a creative department decided to not fall back on objectifying women for a change, and I can't help but find that as refreshing as, well, an ice cold beer. And now the ads are gone and people have to apologize.

How often do we see beer ads that don't objectify or demean women? How often do we see beers ads that suggest guys will have women falling all over them in bars, anxious to have a threesome and such? How many blogs, sites and organizations exist only to report on how women are objectified in all kinds of advertising, media, entertainment, how women get the short end of the stick in business and male dominated industries? All of these sites and groups calling for change, equal representation, equal pay, respect, and yet all it took was 20 people in Toronto to force the kind of change and exposure that women's rights activists and commentators would only dream of?

All I can say, is ladies, what are we doing wrong? Let me put that another way: how can we be more like Toronto?

Or maybe I am completely off base, and what Molson Coors have pulled off is an impromptu sales and marketing/ PR strategy to drive up beer sales in the BC market, during these these final weeks of summer. There is only one way to find out: next time we see anything remotely offensive from the big beer brands, let's call them on it. All we need is to beat twenty complaints to get some action. The bar has been is set.

Postscript: Incidentally, when I drink alcohol, I prefer to drink beer. I have studied the place of women in hockey themed beer ads as a segment in my next hockey book. I openly enjoyed hockey and beer in my first book. Many women out there would agree, It's like a good marriage, those two. Cheers :o)

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