Boddingtons beer advert falls flat

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The Independent Online

Boddingtons, the beer known as the "Cream of Manchester" for 227 years, has always ramped up its Northern heritage in its advertising. The model-turned-television presenter Melanie Sykes launched her career by delivering the line "Do you want a flake in that?" in an unashamedly broad Mancunian accent, in one of the beer's most memorable recent ads.

Boddingtons, the beer known as the "Cream of Manchester" for 227 years, has always ramped up its Northern heritage in its advertising. The model-turned-television presenter Melanie Sykes launched her career by delivering the line "Do you want a flake in that?" in an unashamedly broad Mancunian accent, in one of the beer's most memorable recent ads.

But the latest ad campaign for Boddingtons has landed the brand's owner in trouble with residents of the city. InBev, which has owned Boddingtons for five years, has been accused of hypocrisy by exploiting the beer's Manchester roots only months after moving production out of the city. The international beer company closed Boddingtons' brewery in the city this year and shifted production to Wales. Sixty jobs were lost.

Former workers say the ads, which depict a farmer milking a cow which produces a pint of Boddies after hearing a song by the Man-chester band Happy Mondays on the radio, are an insult to the city. They claim Manchester is being used as a cynical marketing tool.

Mike Thompson, a former worker at the brewery and representative of the T&G union, said: "This is at best cynical and at worst a slur on our great city, its heritage and the Boddingtons workers. People have lost their livelihoods because of how this company has behaved. They will not be best pleased at what we can only see as pouring salt on the wounds." The union is calling on InBev to withdraw the ads.

A spokesman for InBevsaid: "If we made no reference to Manchester and the North-west in our advertising we would be accused of turning our backs on the city and region altogether. Boddingtons is still brewed in the North-west region, and cask Boddingtons is still brewed in Manchester. The brand is Mancunian through and through."

Five former workers are claiming unfair dismissal against InBev as a result of the Strangeways brewery closure. They say had been promised jobs - which did not materialise - at a nearby InBev plant.

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