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Light-ing up the Net
Labatt scores touchdown with sexy beer ad

Every year Canadians - those without satellite - complain because they don’t get to see those great commercials during the Super Bowl.

Well, this year it was the Americans’ turn to complain.

For it’s an ad by Labatt’s Breweries featuring two women sharing lip gloss that’s created almost as much buzz as Janet Jackson’s infamous halftime show.

At least, in this country.

The Blue Light spot, which aired twice during the Super Bowl broadcast, shows the salacious pair in a nightclub. One asks the other for lip gloss. Rather than handing her the tube, the pair exchange a long, wet kiss a la Britney Spears and Madonna, leaving three male Blue Light drinkers staring in disbelief.

[ The kiss ]

Reaction to the 30-second ad has been divided, said Labatt spokesman Nigel Miller. There have been complaints to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council but nothing overwhelming. Earlier this week, the federal broadcast regulator reported it had received three written complaints regarding Jackson’s staged breast display, while 10 people wrote to complain about the beer commercial.

"We’ve had a lot of polarizing reaction to the spot," said Miller. "It wasn’t scheduled to run as early as it did, before 9 p.m. But with live television, scheduling is difficult to control.

"The spot was designed to be provocative, not to offend," he added. "A lot of people are describing it as an entertaining, fun-to-watch ad. That’s what you want to do in a spot, create something entertaining and memorable. I think we’ve succeeded."

Ironically, in the wake of the Janet Jackson debacle, Labatt is nervous about stirring up any more controversy over the spot, which has found new life on the Internet on Labatt’s former lifestyle website beer.com.

Slugged "See the Spot Everyone is Talking About," the site’s had to boost its technical capacity just to keep up with demand.

"We’re experiencing tens of thousands of downloads daily," said Beer.com’s director Paul McLaren. "It’s very viral. People can’t get enough of it.

"The irony is that this is the first year when the game was better than the halftime ads," he laughed.

Denis Armstrong

beer.com - 7 February 2004
 
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