Hamilton bar agrees to pull 'shameful' coronavirus ad after backlash

Source: 1News

People are outraged that a Hamilton bar is making light of the coronavirus outbreak by offering specials on Corona beer for the length of the outbreak – with critics saying it's insensitive to those who have died and profiting off of suffering.

House on Hood bar in Hamilton posted on Facebook this week: "Virus or no virus, we still think Coronas are pretty great, so while the pandemic lasts, we’re selling Coronas for just $6.50, all day, every day!!"

The bar's chief executive John Lawrenson told 1 NEWS after being contacted by Lion Breweries, which distributes Corona in New Zealand, he has agreed to stop associating their beer with the virus.

However, even though the business intends to remove the post and reword it, it will continue with the $6.50 Corona promotion until the end of summer.

People took to the post outraged the bar would use the virus as a marketing point.

"I'm ashamed to be a Kiwi and a Hamiltonian at the moment," one person said.

"How f****** disrespectful," said another. "Make a profit off the fact that there are hundreds of people suffering in pain right now due to the coronavirus. But anything to make some money right?"

Others called the advert "shameful", "disgraceful", "desperate" and "making a mockery out of death".

A spokesperson for Lion told 1 NEWS, "we were unaware of this promotion and do not condone it. We have been in touch with the venue and asked that it be discontinued."

Despite agreeing to change up the ad, Mr Lawrenson said most people saw the funny side of what they were trying to do. 

"Based on the Facebook reactions and the messages we have received it has been overwhelmingly positive. Generally only about 10 per cent of the reactions are negative when we run these sorts of ads.

"If people had family members directly affected then I could understand them taking offence, but that does not seem to be the case for the vast majority of those who are offended.

"It doesn’t bother me at all that people who are unaffected by this virus are outraged. They are generally the kind of people who are offended by everything. However, just because they are offended doesn’t mean that everyone else is or should be."

Mr Lawrenson said the bar consistently ran "irreverent" adverts about topics and personalities including former Wallabies player Israel Folau, National Party leader Simon Bridges, Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki and former Green Party leader Metiria Turei.

Though it was a marketing ploy, the bar wasn't the only ones connecting the beer to the virus.

Related Google search trends have spiked with people appearing to think the coronavirus is some how linked to Corona the beer.

According to Google Trends, for the week to January 21, global search interest for “coronavirus symptoms” spiked +1050 per cent. Most people were asking appropriate questions, though, about symtoms, prevention and where it came from.

So far, 132 people have died from the illness and there are 5974 people infected - most in Wuhan, China where the outbreak started.