Everything You Need to Know About the Consumer Boycott Against Coopers

How did a brewery come to feature heavily in a biased video on same-sex marriage by a religious group?

Generally well-regarded, Australian owned and operated Coopers Brewery has come under fire this week for their involvement in this painfully uncomfortable Bible Society video. The video depicts two Liberal Party MPs, Andrew Hastie and Tim Wilson, discussing marriage equality in a 'lighthearted way', washing it down with a few ice-cold bottles of Coopers Light. Yeesh.

If you're confused how Coopers got roped up in such a casually offensive and poorly executed pun, the sad news is that they pretty much tied the noose themselves. As a congratulatory gift to the Bible Society's bicentenary this year, Coopers released a collaboration limited edition light beer which features the Christian non-profit's logo and Bible verses on each case — 10,000 of them, to be exact. The brewery — which is family-run and openly Christian — and their association with the Bible Society flew under the radar until the society's 'Keeping it Light' campaign went live over the weekend, which is meant to showcase "light discussion on the heaviest topics". The Bible Society's somewhat haphazard video (which, it must be noted, Coopers has claimed they had no involvement in) acts as the first in a planned series using the Coopers Light beer as a gateway for their 'light' discussion.

Shortly after the video was released, The Sydney Morning Herald published these statements by the two MPs, who seemed to find nothing wrong with the video's content. With 64 percent of Australian's in support of marriage equality, the video came across as patronising and flippant to a large chunk of the public who feel same-sex marriage shouldn't be a debate at all.

Coopers' involvement with the video is questionable. Their first response was a sort-of apologetic statement essentially defending the video's content, saying it was "a lighthearted but balanced debate about an important topic". When this did not quell the backlash and boycotts, they then released a second statement claiming that they "did not give permission for [their] Premium Light beer to feature in, or 'sponsor' the Bible Society's 'Keeping it Light' video". The Bible Society has since released their own statement backing up this claim, stating that they were "entirely responsible" for the video and that no money changed hands in regards to the campaign.

Twitter, not surprisingly, exploded. The hashtag #BoycottCoopers has taken over social media over the last few days, with consumers and venues alike speaking out. Venues across the country are pulling Coopers stock from their bars, including Sydney's Hollywood Hotel and Newtown Hotel and Melbourne's Old Bar and Sircuit/Mollies Bar & Diner — the latter of which posted this video of their GM throwing all their Coopers stock into the bin.

Whatever their involvement with the production of the video, it doesn't look like Coopers is getting out of this one anytime soon. It certainly muddies the waters in relation to how religious groups and brands can influence consumers and secular institutions — particularly as Coopers has been a donor to the Liberal Party in the past, which not one, but both MPs in the video belong to.

Published on March 14, 2017 by Marissa Ciampi

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