Beer manufacturers have rarely been accused of having good taste when it comes to their advertising, but a new commercial from Coors Canada is drawing fire that it’s irresponsible and dangerous. The ad shows skiers and snowboarders debating whether to leave a ski area boundary, a voiceover asking, “Will you brave going out of bounds?” and then showing them exiting the area with no safety equipment.
“To be honest, that is just shocking to me,” said Mike Danks, Vancouver North Shore Rescue team leader. “I’m almost speechless. I cannot believe they are pushing people to go out of bounds, to think that it’s cool. It works against everything our education is trying to accomplish. I think once the public finds out about this, they’re not going to be happy – especially the ones of family members who have gone out of bounds and not returned.”
Indeed, the public was not pleased. Terry Platt, a Vancouver resident, saw the commercial on Monday and immediately wrote to the company.
“Some of their commercials are pretty stupid, and that’s fine,” she told the North Shore News, “scantily clad young people jumping into swimming pools and stuff but I’d like them to pull this ad. I find it offensive when you’ve got North Shore Rescue’s people risking their lives.”
British Columbia Search and Rescue was not amused either and issued a released criticizing Coors.
“The Coors Light Canada messaging raises a high level of concern amongst BCSARA Board of Directors and search and rescue prevention educators. We encourage outdoor enthusiasts to ‘get informed & go outdoors’ and consistently promote outdoor safety trying to reduce the number and severity of SAR incidents in Canada. While BCSARA recognizes that social media is created for education and entertainment purposes, we would like to remind the public that depiction of disobeying safety signage and area closures, ducking the ropes to go out of bounds and not wearing appropriate safety gear is not recommended or encouraged.”
Jennifer Kerr, the beer company’s director of corporate affairs, told the CBC that it’s taken the spot down from YouTube and is reconsidering airing it. (On YouTube, it’s actually been set to private.)
“Our Brave The Cold campaign was meant to highlight the fact that any moment can be an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and find adventure,” she said in an email. “We have the utmost respect for the thousands of search and rescue professionals across Canada who risk their lives daily and would never want to make light of a situation that has negatively impacted someone, or their friends and families.”