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Brewdog declares themselves "anti-sponsor" of the world cup - some think the campaign is disingenuous

Brewdog has declared themselves the "anti-sponsor" of what they call "the world f*ckup", that is, the world cup.

With headlines like "the beautiful shame", rather than "game", and "First Russia, then Qatar, can't wait for North Korea" they clearly call out what they think is the problem, and sign off with the promise that all profit from "lost lager" will go toward fighting human rights abuse. 

Brewdog put out a statement, that reads in part:

"Football's been dragged through the mud, before a single ball's been kicked. Let's be honest: Qatar won it through bribery. On an industrial scale.

Football is meant to be for everyone. But in Qatar, homosexuality is illegal, flogging is an accepted form of punishment, and it's OK for 6,500 workers to die building your stadium. That's why we're kicking off. And we're putting our money where our mouth is, with all the profits from our Lost Lager sold during the tournament going to fight human rights abuse.

We're proud to be launching BrewDog as an anti-sponsor of the World F*Cup. To be clear we love football, we just don't love corruption, abuse and death. So join us. Let's raise a glass to the players. To the fans. To free speech. And two fingers to anyone who thinks a World Cup in Qatar makes sense."

The reaction has been "mixed", to put it mildly. While some are quite happy to see a brand calling a spade a spade, and I think we can all agree that the art direction and copy tone carries the brand's punk aesthetic quite well, others find the campaign disingenuous.

Trade union Unite criticized the campaign. The organizer for the hospitality sector Bryan Simpson said: “the treatment of workers in Qatar is an international scandal but BrewDog have a cheek saying anything about workers rights when hundreds of their own workers (past and present) signed an open letter detailing a “culture of fear” with workers demanding an apology for “harassing, assaulting, belittling, insulting or gaslighting them”. 

Bryan Simpson, continued:  “This is yet another disingenuous advertising campaign designed to distract customers from the fact that BrewDog is one of the worst employers in the brewing industry when it comes to doing the right thing by workers.”

Brewdog will still air all of the Fifa matches in their pubs, and a BrewDog spokesperson ha elaborated as to why: 

“One, if you love craft beer and you also love football you shouldn’t be denied the chance to enjoy them together just because FIFA is corrupt.

“Two, all profits from Lost Lager sold during the tournament will be donated to human rights charities. We will raise a lot more money if we show the matches in our bars”


What do you think about the campaign? Could it have been done better? Different tone perhaps? Or a different brand alltogether?

Some reactions: 

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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Aaron M.'s picture

Bold of Brewdog to posit themselves in this position when the only things I know about them are that 1) they make beer and 2) they ripped off a graphic designer. And I only know about that first one because of number 2.

Anonymous Adgrunt's picture

Didn't Brewdog steal. the "PUNK AF" concept from an ad agency too?

Sport's picture

Yeah I remember that.