Molson Messes Up: Funny Marketing Mishaps

The Plan: Use social media to run a contest in an effort to gain cheap, easy publicity and extend the brand to target markets

The Story: Molson, one of the biggest brewers in Canada, has a pretty firm market share in the beer drinking world. But lord knows you never want to slip when it comes to advertising booze as your customer base is made up entirely of people prone to black out and forget things, so you need to keep your name on their slurry lips at all times.

Because 19-24 year olds are such a key demographic for selling just about everything, Molson launched a campaign to target university students. While legal drinking age in the US may be 21, in many Canadian provinces it’s or 19. The campaign, launched on Facebook, asked students to send in their craziest party pics in an effort to track down the top party school in the country with the winner getting a trip to Cancun where presumably they would drink tea and learn about Mexican culture. This translates into “how drunk can you get on camera?” The problem, of course, is the number of 17 and 18 year old university students as well as most schools’ desire not to be known nationally as “that drunk school.”

Universities immediately called out Molson for promoting irresponsible drinking and many parents took the time to register complaints as apparently mom and dad don’t like the idea of paying for their child’s education then having that same child’s drunken shenanigans at school used in beer promotions. Who knew? Molson ended the promotion early claiming they had only been interested in promoting school spirit and not excessive drinking, which seems like a plausible motivation for the country’s 3rd largest brewery.

For more Marketing Campaigns gone wrong:

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