Saturday, December 02, 2006

Is Santa Claus the next Joe Camel?

I find it despicable when corporations use endearing characters in order to market dangerous and/or addictive products directly to our youths.

Joe Camel was certainly a case of this. For one thing, he always reminded me of another certain character that I was fond of in my youth.

Then there's the thing with those internal memos. It is clearly apparent that they were using the character to entice teens into using and getting hooked on their product.

But what about Santa Claus? Is he also a nefarious marketing tool? I believe that he's certainly a marketing tool—something where evangelicals and I might find common ground. But the Santa Claus demographic is not the same as the Joe Camel demographic. Santa Claus marketers target the "Mommy, mommy! I want ..." generation. Joe Camel went after kids who bought their own paraphernalia. That's why I probably wouldn't be as outraged if RJR came out with Kris Kringle Smokes. So what about Santa on beer bottles? It seems the State of Maine has decided that this bottle can't be on the shelves.

But the state says it's within its rights. The label with Santa might appeal to children, said Maine State Police Lt. Patrick Fleming. The other two labels are considered inappropriate because they show bare-breasted women.

"We stand by our decision and at some point it'll go through the court system and somebody will make the decision on whether we are right or wrong," he said.

So let's see. A mother is in the supermarket with her six year old and ventures into the beverage aisle to buy some egg-nog. All of a sudden, the child spots the bottle of Santa's Butt beer and starts yelling "Mommy, mommy! It's Santa!" The youth of Maine has now been corrupted.

But those other two labels are another matter altogether.

Maine also denied label applications for Les Sans Culottes, a French ale, and Rose de Gambrinus, a Belgian fruit beer.

Les Sans Culottes' label is illustrated with detail from Eugene Delacroix's 1830 painting "Liberty Leading the People," which hangs in the Louvre and once appeared on the 100-franc bill. Rose de Gambrinus shows a bare-breasted woman in a watercolor painting commissioned by the brewery.

In a letter to Shelton Brothers, the state denied the applications for the labels because they contained "undignified or improper illustration."

Bare breasted women on beer bottles?? It's sacreligious! Imagine the audacity. I guess my idea for a wine label will never fly in Maine.

"Queen of the Wheel," copyrighted in 1897 by the Rose Studio of Princeton, NJ.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

A while back I started brewing my own traditional english ale, I have really started getting into it and now actually sell beer to friends and family. I wanted to add that extra touch to my beer so I designed my own beer labels and had them printed by a british labels company who did a excellent job. It has made my beer bottles look really great!