Magnotta photo flap: Labatt learns a harsh lesson in social media

Why would anyone seriously associate the longstanding beer brand with an alleged killer?

Labatt Breweries quickly learned a brutal lesson in social media marketing and PR after a legal threat against the Montreal Gazette, over the paper’s use of a photo depicting accused killer Luka Magnotta holding a bottle of Blue, transformed into a Twitter backlash mocking the beer company.

The Globe and Mail reported that Labatt had threatened to sue the Gazette unless it took down the photo, believing the association could be disastrous to its brand. Turns out, the threat has done more damage than the photo ever would.

In a letter to the Gazette, Labatt’s associate general counsel Karyn Sullivan wrote, “As I am sure you can understand, this image is highly denigrating to our brand, and we are disturbed that this image remains on your site despite repeated requests and the many images available of this person.”

And then Twitter struck. Well, specifically, National Post columnist Andrew Coyne. Coyne, mocking the brand’s overzealous concern — why would anyone seriously associate the longstanding beer brand with the alleged killer? — started the hashtag #newlabattcampaign, which quickly took off to become a top trending topic in Canada.

Andrew Coyne
I don’t always drink beer after dismembering a corpse, but when I do, I drink Blue. #newlabattcampaign… Read more


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