Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wife Beater

I read in UK’s The Independent today that an international lobbying company, Portland Communications – run by Tony Blair’s former advisor Tim Allan – tried to remove references to a client's brand of lager that has been referred to as the "wife beater" from the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.


Stella Artois, once best known for its unashamedly upmarket advertising slogan "reassuringly expensive" is now afflicted with an unflattering image problem. The drink, which at 5.2 percent alcohol is stronger than many other lagers and therefore makes people drunker and sometimes more aggressive more quickly supposedly, has acquired the unfitting soubriquet of "wife beater".

Under the user name Portlander10 it removed reference to Stella Artois from the Wikipedia page entitled "Wife beater" and replaced it with a generic reference to lager or beer. Portland also tried to remove the reference to wife beater on the Wikipedia page for Stella Artois. But other users spotted the edit and reversed it.

I don’t blame the brewer AB InBev – you don’t want me to go to a pub and when asked, ‘What shall you have?” respond with a “Can I have a wife beater please?!” It sure as hell won’t do any good to the brand’s carefully-cultivated reputation, will it?

I would also venture to add that it doesn’t do any good to my own reputation! Would you still quaff down a beer that has begun to acquire a reputation as a drink for those whose stated mission was to get blind drunk? Not unless you want to get blind drunk, that is!

I found this story that bears up to what is written above. The lager was singled out by a judge in a Brighton court, who linked it with binge-drinking and alcohol-fuelled violence when sentencing a man who had attacked his ex-girlfriend's partner after downing Stella Artois (Mail Online, November 15, 2007).

The last time I drank a Stella was at O’Neill’s nestled inside Stansted Airport on June 20, 2009 – my most recent visit to the UK! So, I am not going to desperately miss it. But it’s sad that this beer has gone from being a product with a certain degree of class to one associated with all the wrong sort of people.

This reminds me of another brand that suffers from being in the same kind of unwanted predicament! Britishers may remember the phrase "done a Burberry" – the fashion house which became the designer label of choice for football thugs.

Hmm, writing about beers is making me thirsty! Where can I go to have chilled Tiger?

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