By Megan Bell
Following the launch of an anti-sponsorship campaign of the Qatar World Cup, Brewdog have received backlash across social media platforms.
Brewdog have labelled themselves as “proud anti-sponsors of the World F*Cup” in their newest ad campaign. Alongside the campaign they have pledged to donate all profits of their ‘Lost Larger’ sold during the World Cup to human rights abuse causes.
The campaign was announced on @brewdogoffical on Instagram and Twitter reading ‘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’.
@brewdogoffical statement released on Instagram and Twitter
The company have been labelled ‘disingenuous’ by fans on social media as they will still be showing the games in their pubs across the UK stating that they “love football, just not corruption, abuse and death”.
Twitter launched into pointing out flaws in their campaign. One user commented that the company cannot promote themselves as an anti-sponsor while offering a Brewdog fan zone to their customers. The campaign has also been labelled “confused” and “a shameless PR stunt” by others.
Brewdog founder James Watt has taken to multiple social media platforms to defend his newest campaign.
Commenting on the positive reaction to the campaign Watt tweeted “If a bit of the usual Twitter hate is the price we have to pay for massively raising awareness of the continued human rights abuses in Qatar and the obvious corruption of FIFA, then so be it”.
Watt has also had to respond to backlash on LinkedIn, as people continue to comment on the “hypocrisy” of the campaign. Watt has explained the reasons why they are still screening the games:
“We want to give people a place to watch the game and do some good at the same time. Let’s be honest – people are still going to watch the games – so we want to give them the opportunity to watch the games and raise money to drive positive change at the same time.”-Brewdog founder James Watt.
This campaign follows others using their platform to speak out against the World Cup’s location. England Lionesses’ Beth Mead has stated online that she is disappointed that “there’s no respect” surrounding Qatar’s lack of LGBTQ+ rights.
The Australian soccer team were the first team to also publicly oppose the Qatar World Cup. In a video posted on the Socceroos Twitter, the players stated that “there are universal values that should define football – values such as respect, dignity, trust and courage. When we represent our nation, we aspire to embody these values”.
This is not the first time that Brewdog have come under scrutiny online. The brands ‘punk’ ethos has led to them having many spells of controversy since their launch in 2008.
The brand has been forced to issue multiple formal apologies since its creation over poor marketing, campaigning to children, and following online accusations of the brands apparent transphobia and sexism.
Most notably, the brewery was forced to apologise to multiple employees who felt as if they were “treated like objects” in the company while owner James Watt “fostered a culture of fear”. This open letter signed by 61 employees and published on Twitter as Punks With Purpose stated that “being treated like a human being was sadly not always a given for those working at Brewdog.”
It’s been seen that Brewdog are no strangers to controversy and following this campaign that is not set to change.
Images of the campaign from @brewdogoffical.