In Andrew Coyne’s latest column, he raises important questions about the implications of social media for corporate brand imaging. Labatt recently threatened to sue the Montreal Gazette after it published a picture of infamous alleged murderer Luka Magnotta drinking a bottle of Labatt Blue on its website. The company withdrew the suit following a backlash by Twitter users, which was in part led by Coyne himself.
Coyne has little sympathy for advertisers, arguing they should accept brand criticism and allow for a more realistic discussion of their products. As a journalist, he is understandably biased toward supporting journalistic freedom over corporate image. Coyne is also a prolific ‘tweeter’ and seems to enjoy the role of social media in cutting through the fantasies corporations try to build around their brands. Consumers don’t believe drinking a specific beer will win them girls anymore than they believe it will turn them into a cannibal. Coyne argues advertisers should accept criticism and realize that they can’t control every aspect of their product image in an age of social media.