Heineken has been forced to drop a cover of the US punk band Dead Kennedys’ song Too Drunk to Fuck that featured in a Kronenbourg 1664 online promotion, after a complaint to the alcohol industry marketing watchdog that it encouraged binge drinking.
Heineken’s Kronenbourg 1664 campaign featured banner advertisements on popular music site Spotify.
The ads directed music lovers to a special Kronenbourg “slowed down” playlist as part of a campaign by the beer brand called “Slow the Pace”.
Heineken’s aim was to link the idea of “relaxed consumption” of beer with music that had been “uncharacteristically slowed down” from the original track.
Drinks industry marketing watchdog the Portman Group, which operates a self-regulatory code of practice, received a complaint about the promotion and the use of the track.
The Portman Group’s independent complaints panel said that while Kronenbourg had not “set out to promote irresponsible drinking”, nevertheless the “track name and lyrics referenced drinking to excess, thereby associating the brand with immoderate consumption”.
It added that this represented a breach of its industry code, which bans alcohol promotions from “encouraging irresponsible or immoderate drinking”.
“This demonstrates just how careful companies have to be when marketing alcohol,” said David Poley, chief executive of the Portman Group. “We were pleased that the company took immediate action to remove the track from the playlist. As soon as the complaint was brought to its attention Heineken has also introduced more rigorous approval procedures as a result.”
This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.