Molson Coors Brewing Company (NYSE: TAP) has pulled commercials from television and its Canadian YouTube page in response to criticism by leaders in the alpine search and rescue community. The Coors ad was said to have challenged skiers and snowboarders to “brave going out-of-bounds” and to have depicted a group of riders ignoring boundaries and heading to an out-of-bounds area, as reported by North Shore News.
“Sending the message that out-of-bounds skiing and snowboarding is cool was contrary to everything the volunteer rescue organizations had been trying to get out to the public,” was the message conveyed by Mike Danks with North Shore Rescue, as well as the B.C. Search and Rescue Association.
Mountains located north of Vancouver offer many opportunities for world-class skiing and snowboarding. However, lost skiers and hikers are a regular occurrence. In January, a 40-year-old snowboarder went missing and was later found dead near a creek west of Cypress Mountain, as reported by The Inquisitr. The lost snowboarder was said to have entered a restricted area, leading to his ordeal.
An editorial by an unnamed author with the North Shore News slammed the producers of the out-of-bounds Coors ad.
“If Coors is out to create a brand associated with poor choices that aims to prove Darwin correct, then the company has succeeded.”
The article speaks of British Columbian skiers and snowboarders who have chosen to ski outside boundaries; who have paid the price by finding themselves lying in a “crumpled heap” at the foot of a cliff or shivering, “hypothermic” after falling down a waterfall. North Shore Rescue and other volunteer groups across B.C. save people’s lives in these situations regularly. This does not change the fact that many adventure seekers have died, needlessly so, in what would seem to be foolish deaths. The out-of-bounds Coors ad is perceived to have displayed an ignorance on the part of its producers of the gravity of the consequences one may face when skiing off marked trails anywhere, but especially in western Canada and the U.S., where the ad was aired, and where life-threatening conditions abound.
Greg Vallentin with Molson Coors Canada stated that the company has the “utmost respect” for its customers, as well as search and rescue “professionals” who risk their lives saving Canadians on a daily basis. He indicated that the brewing company would never “make light” of a situation that has “negatively impacted” a person, their family members, or friends.
Vallentin suggested that the goal of the brewer was to “highlight” to all drinkers, not only skiers and snowboarders, “the fact that any moment can be an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and find adventure.”
Canada has certainly wasted no effort in producing some of the slickest commercials that, while entertaining and well-made, are tools of companies that sell a dangerous and addictive, albeit thirst-quenching, product.
According to the code of advertising standards set forth by Advertising Standards Canada, advertising must not “display a disregard for safety by depicting situations that might reasonably be interpreted as encouraging unsafe or dangerous practices, or acts.”
Janet Feasby with the agency reportedly made indications that there would be no investigation into the “out-of-bounds” Coors ad.
North Shore Rescue is a non-profit organization run by volunteers who conduct an “average of 79” rescue operations in the mountains north of Vancouver each year. North Shore Rescue is a member of the British Columbia Search and Rescue Association, which is made up of over 80 local aid-giving groups run by nearly 2,500 volunteers.
Coors was reported to pledge financial support to the search and rescue association to “fund training, support and public education on outdoor safety,” though details of when support might be received and the exact amount to be donated remained elusive.
[Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images]