Hamilton bar pulls Corona-coronavirus promotion

House on Hood, which was criticised for promoting a deal on Corona beer with reference to the coronavirus, has discontinued the promotion after being contacted by Lion, which distributes Corona in New Zealand.

A Hamilton bar’s social media promotion offering a deal on Corona beers as long as the deadly coronavirus continued to spread has been pulled at the request of Lion, which distributes Corona in New Zealand.

House on Hood attracted criticism for its Facebook post of two men wearing boiler suits and gas masks while holding bottles of Corona. “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 post read.

Asked about the promotion, a spokesperson for Lion told The Spinoff: “As Corona’s distributor in NZ, Lion wasn’t aware of the promotion and does not condone it. They have since been in touch with the venue and asked that it be discontinued. The post has also been taken down.”

On House on Hood’s Facebook page, the post has been replaced with one of a Corona bottle wearing a face mask, saying, “Let’s be honest, there are worse things you can catch in Hamilton”, and stating that the $6.50 Corona deal would continue.

The Herald reported that comments on the original post included, “Shame on you guys… It’s not funny at all”; “That’s disgusting. I’m so embarrassed right now” and “You wouldn’t run a ‘$6.50 on all Aussie beers for the entire bushfire season’ so why is this okay?!”

The death toll from coronavirus has risen to 170 in China, where the number of infections has jumped by nearly 30%. There are now more than 7700 cases confirmed worldwide. The foreign affairs minister, Winston Peters, announced today the New Zealand government had chartered an Air New Zealand flight to assist in the evacuation of New Zealanders from Wuhan, the Chinese megacity where the virus is believed to have originated.

John Lawrenson of the Lawrenson Group, which owns House on Hood, was initially unrepentant about the promotion. In a statement to the Herald, he blamed “a small but loud minority of people who get offended by everything and I can always rely on them to get triggered. “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 an email to The Spinoff this afternoon, Lawrenson said: “I received a phone call from a colleague at Lion Breweries this morning. He said he was concerned about the perception of Lion, as the NZ distributor of Corona, and asked if I would consider taking the post down. He was very polite and explained his concerns logically and so I agreed to change the wording, but said that I would keep running the promotion.”

He added: “Obviously those directly affected by the virus may feel justifiably aggrieved. While the ad was designed to be liked and shared by the majority of people who enjoy that sort of humour, we were also aware that a small, self-righteous group of the perpetually outraged were probably the ones that were going to get triggered and make this go viral.”

In its statement, Lion added: “There is no connection whatsoever between the coronavirus and Corona beer. The safety of our consumers is our priority. Corona is brewed under the highest quality standards and is safe to be enjoyed by our consumers. The virus name reference to corona, Latin for crown or halo, is due to the shape of the virus which resembles a royal crown or solar corona.”

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