Bloody hell, you can't show a half-full beer in Canada

The ad story that just won't die this month seems to be Australia's "Where the bloody hell are you?" campaign. It launched the last week of February and was created by M&C Saatchi in Sydney.

First, the ad was restricted in the UK for the word "bloody", which was eventually overturned after the Australian Tourism Minister, Fran Bailey, took a trip to London to defend the use of the word in the campaign.

Then Canada's CBC restricted the spot during family broadcasts for the ad for the use of "hell." Now, they are asking for the ad to be edited to remove a shot showing a half-full pint of beer.

"Buying a mate a beer is about Australian as you can get. But the Canadian regulator has banned the shot because implied unbranded alcohol consumption (a part-empty beer glass) is unacceptable," said Bailey in a press release issued on Tuesday. "The way the ad is designed means this will not cause us a problem, but I still find the decision astonishing. What this decision shows is that Canada lags behind Americans, Brits and even Germans in the sense of humour stakes."

The Australian commercial was vetted by Telecaster, an ad-screening service provided to Canadian broadcasters by the industry-run Television Bureau of Canada. Telecaster officials explained to CanWest News Service that under federal CRTC regulations, images of half-full glasses of beer are forbidden in Canadian TV commercials.

The rationale, they said, is to ensure the mood conveyed in a commercial - by a happy crowd of partyers holding beers, for example - wasn't dependent on the characters' prior consumption of alcohol.

"Caution must be exercised when incorporating scenes of unbranded alcohol as a prop or mood-setting in commercials," note Telecaster guidelines posted at the bureau's website. "All individuals in the commercial must be of legal drinking age. Scenes that include (in audio or video) consumption of unbranded alcohol, implied consumption of unbranded alcohol (part-empty wine glass or beer bottle/glass etc), or implied over-consumption of unbranded alcohol (the number of glasses/bottles of alcohol exceed the number of individuals in a scene) are unacceptable."

Australian news media are having a heyday poking fun at the Canadian rule.

In one story, headlined "Bloody Canadians reject hell of an ad," the online version of The Age notes: "Under Canada's restrictions on alcohol advertising, ads cannot feature anyone enjoying alcohol. Full glasses are fine, but a half-empty glass apparently shows people drink the stuff."

The papers aren't the only ones to be having a bit of fun with the campaign either. Downwindmedia has created this spoof of the orginial ad to "better reflect the real Australia to overseas visitors".

"Last week I thought it'd be great to see a satirical parody of this TVC, for the coverage that Australia has been getting lately hasn't been too crash hot. So why should we lie to world about who we are," said executive producer Dan Ilic.

Ilic shot the ad last Tuesday (March14th) using some actors from his university days. Post production was done pro bono by Pre2Post in North Sydney and music was done in-house by music supervisor Leonardo Esposito.

Check out the spoof here.

Related articles:
Australia asks "Where the bloody hell are you?"
Australia's tourism ad restricted for "bloody" in UK
Bloody is now bloody OK for OZ
Where the bloody hell are ya clothes luv
So where the ¡#§‰*#¿ hell are you!?

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Dabitch's picture

The glass is not half-full. It's half-empty.

caffeinegoddess's picture

I find the "unbranded alcohol" bit pretty funny. Maybe they should have thrown in a Fosters. ;)

MaryWills's picture

Seems like this campaign has turned into a PR wet dream.

Plywood's picture

Our beer advertising laws here in Canada continue to be moronic.

For example, a person working the barbecue cooking the steaks may not hold a (full) beer because barbecueing is a skilled activity, and skilled activities may not be performed while not drinking a beer that one is holding.