Thursday, 3 September 2015

Capitalist 'Punks' offend again

BrewDog, officially the most irritating brewery in the world*, has offended again with their latest attempt to raise cash to the extent that a petition has been set up to demand that they withdraw it and apologise. The petition states:

BrewDog beer company claims to be "beer for punks". They claim to be ethical. Yet in their new crowdsourcing video they mock homeless people, trans women and sex workers. They say, "don't make us do this" whilst performing as offensive caricatures of people, many of whom already suffer discrimination every day. They are mocking the lives and experiences of people who real punks would be defending and helping. Worse, this is a fundraising video - they're using these images in an exploitative manner to make money.

I regard the video as rather vain and quite childish, but I can see why some people might find it offensive, so I've signed. I've done this aware that BrewDog will probably regard this petition as a badge of honour, because they claim to be punks.

Except they're not really: they are no more punks than Richard Branson is a hippy. You'd never seriously put them alongside The Clash, The Sex Pistols or Siouxsie and the Banshees, would you? There's 'iconoclastic' - and there's 'silly'. If you want to sign the petition, it's here.

* Source: Rednev's ReARM.


  1. Also see this post by Arthur on Stonch's blog.

    I think they were deliberately poking people who they knew would take offence. I'm not claiming it's brilliant marketing, but frankly we do seem to have sleep-walked into a society where it's considered unacceptable to offend *anyone*.

    1. Your first point is spot on, but if the last one were true, very little offence would be caused in our society nowadays, which is clearly not the case. The term 'offensive' is often used as a way of trying to silence views you don't approve of: a lot of that goes on, and I don't let it browbeat me. On the other hand, we mustn't let such bullying blind us to the fact that some people can get genuinely upset. I think this comment posted on the petition by a signatory is a example of the latter:

      I was once going to invest in Brewdog but now I'm glad I haven't. I am a trans woman and I have also been homeless and frankly, aside from being personally offensive, this video belongs 10/15 years in the past. A family friend (I am from Aberdeenshire) worked for you and I used to enjoy your Punk IPA, but frankly, now, I feel ashamed and betrayed by a local business that I was previously quite proud of.

      BrewDog's share scheme is probably the worst way you can invest your money in the UK. They distract attention from that by publishing comical images about people who are marginalised and often subject to abuse purely to make themselves rich. What lovely people they are.

  2. Actually, the "punk" analogy works pretty well if you think Malcom McLaren and the Pistols rather than Crass or Minor Threat or something.

    Genius for publicity stunts - yep. Undeniably massive influence - yep. Making fat stacks of cash - yep. Unclear whether making fat stacks of cash is a side effect of a mission to revolutionize culture or whether revolutionizing of culture is a side effect of a mission to make fat stacks of cash - also yep.


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