How To Make A New Brew Fall Flat

Some people just can't take a joke. To promote its new Blue Star beer, to be sold only in Canada's depressed Newfoundland province, Labatt Breweries dreamed up a contest called "Take this job and love it." The prize: a 10-week summer job in Labatt's marketing department.

The brewer's Newfoundland general manager, Gerry Burke, thought the random drawing was a humorous, topical way to address the province's 21.3% unemployment rate. But the provincial government thinks joblessness is no laughing matter. Calling the contest "totally disgusting," Newfoundland Treasury Board Chairman Winston Baker threatened to pull Labatt's license to sell beer unless the brewer canceled the promotion. Baker also objected to Labatt ads that played on national stereotypes of Newfoundlanders as hard-drinking layabouts. Good thing Labatt had already dropped plans to offer a 20-week job as second prize.