Defending the brand in a social media universe

It’s an image that would make any marketer feel a little queasy.

There was Luka Magnotta, accused of the brutal slaying and dismemberment of a Chinese exchange student in Montreal, holding a bottle of Labatt Blue. Any company would shun the association with an alleged killer. But in its rush to find a solution, Labatt Breweries of Canada created its own problem.

After this paper reported on Tuesday that Labatt made legal threats against the Montreal Gazette, which published the photo in a story about Mr. Magnotta, in an attempt to have the image replaced, the story took off. Discussions on Twitter and Facebook erupted over Labatt’s public relations misstep. And the brand became associated with yet more distasteful content: People used the Twitter hashtag #newlabattcampaign to post fake advertising slogans for the beer, tied to the grisly murder… Read more

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