Coronavirus: Bar condemned for offering deals on Corona beer ‘while the pandemic lasts’

‘Let’s be honest, there are worse things you can catch in Hamilton,’ second promotion says

Andy Gregory
Monday 03 February 2020 11:51
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A New Zealand bar is using the coronavirus to promote beer
A New Zealand bar is using the coronavirus to promote beer

A bar has sparked outrage by using the coronavirus to advertise deals on Corona beer “while the pandemic lasts”.

The New Zealand venue illustrated its promotion with an image of two men wearing boiler suits and gas masks while holding a bottle of beer.

The original Facebook post was removed after Corona’s distributor in New Zealand, Lion, reportedly complained and made clear the firm did not condone the advert.

But the bar issued a follow-up post on Thursday, reading: “Let’s be honest, there are worse things you can catch in Hamilton.”

More than 360 people have now died from the virus in Asia, with nearly 18,000 known cases worldwide. The World Health Organisation declared the outbreak a global emergency on Friday.

While the latter advert was praised by some as an example of “gallows humour”, the original post mostly drew an angry reaction.

“Living in Asia, many of my clients are Chinese and I can assure you it's nothing to joke about,” Newsweek reported one Facebook user as saying.

“Sure, I get it. It's a small and harmless play on words to almost everyone who reads it in NZ because you are so far removed from the situation, for now.”

“How on earth do you think this is OK?! You wouldn't run a '$6.50 on all Aussie beers for the entire bushfire season' so why is this okay?!” wrote another user.

The CEO of the company that owns the bar responded by saying “thanks to all the snowflakes for the free advertising”.

“The great thing about living in today's society is that there is a small but loud minority of people who get offended by everything and I can always rely on them to get triggered,” Lawrenson Group CEO, John Lawrenson, told local media.

“So I'd just like to say thanks to all the snowflakes for the free advertising and thanks to everyone else with a sense of humour who liked the post.”

In Bunbury, Australia, one bar went further, hosting a coronavirus-themed party with free face masks.

“There’s been a LOT of talk about Corona and to be honest it's made us pretty thirsty…” Fitzgerald’s Irish Bar wrote on Facebook. “We’ve heard Corona is pretty popular at the moment. We’re not sure why though, it’s just beer isn’t it?”

Since December, the number of known coronavirus cases has outstripped those recorded during the deadly eight-month Sars outbreak in 2002.

However, on Friday, University of Hong Kong researchers suggested that in Wuhan alone – the city at the centre of the outbreak – more than 75,000 people could be infected with the virus.

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