SAB slammed over Beer for Africa pack

Brew­ery gi­ant is forced to back­track on its mar­ket­ing strat­egy

Cape Argus - - NEWS - Marvin Charles

SA BREW­ERIES’ (SAB) col­lab­o­ra­tion with Stop Hunger SA Now has caused an out­cry from anti-al­co­hol abuse ac­tivists and health pro­fes­sion­als – so much so that the brew­ery gi­ant had to back­track on its mar­ket­ing cam­paign.

SAB to­gether with the non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion launched a Beers for Africa eight pack which aimed to feed hun­gry students across the con­ti­nent. Univer­sity lec­tur­ers along with health pro­fes­sion­als have la­belled the strat­egy as “reck­less”.

The South­ern African Al­co­hol Pol­icy Al­liance (Saapa) strongly con­demned the lat­est mar­ket­ing strat­egy.

“We fully sup­port the fact that big com­pa­nies have the right to con­trib­ute to a good cause but what we are chal­leng­ing is the fact that they are mar­ket­ing their beer,” al­liance spokesper­son Aadielah Maker said.

Maker also said the fact that SAB had in­creased its beer packs from six to eight was prob­lem­atic. “What this means is that this makes it more ac­ces­si­ble for ev­ery­one,” Maker said. The al­liance had writ­ten to SAB to ask them to stop the mar­ket­ing strat­egy.

“They did re­spond say­ing that they are not mak­ing any money through this, but have re­ceived so much exposure through it,” she said.

The part­ner­ship started in April with the goal to feed a mil­lion students by next year. The Beers for Africa packs fea­ture dif­fer­ent type of beers from dif­fer­ent African coun­tries.

With ev­ery pack sold, Stop Hunger Now SA would re­ceive money to pro­vide three students with a meal. “Hunger is a huge prob­lem in South Africa and nobody can say the pro­ject shouldn’t be sup­ported… How­ever it’s cyn­i­cal to pro­mote it us­ing your prod­uct and in fact it’s more cyn­i­cal to claim that you are re­liev­ing hunger by feed­ing hun­gry students beer.

“We know that students are among some of the most vul­ner­a­ble af­fected by al­co­hol. We have a huge prob­lem of al­co­holism on our cam­puses,” Pro­fes­sor Les­lie Lon­don of the Pub­lic Health As­so­ci­a­tion of SA said.

Lon­don added that for SAB to mar­ket a beer to raise money do­nated to feed the very peo­ple us­ing their prod­uct which is harm­ful to them is ex­tremely neg­a­tive.

SAB said it re­spected Saapa’s con­cern regarding the preva­lent mis­use of al­co­hol and, in par­tic­u­lar, among the youth.

“In terms of the part­ner­ship be­tween the com­pany’s pilot pro­ject, the Beers for Africa eight pack and Rise Against Hunger (pre­vi­ously Stop Hunger Now SA), it should be noted that the ma­jor­ity of all pro­ceeds re­ceived from the sale of the pack went di­rectly to RAH.

“Enough money was raised to pro­vide 200 000 meals for students,” SAB com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor Robyn Chalmers said. In fu­ture “SAB will fund RAH di­rectly and delink it from the Beers for Africa pack. The goal of pro­vid­ing a mil­lion meals for students ev­ery year re­mains in­tact”.

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