Carlton & United Breweries have come under attack today from the Advertising Standards Bureau for allowing users to post derogatory comments on their official VB Facebook page.

What better proof than this that a beer's worth drinking? Photo:Aaron Francis

It all started when CUB posted this question: “Besides VB, what’s the next essential needed for a great Australia Day BBQ?”

Which prompted a barrage of horrible comments that according to The Australian, vilified sexual identity discriminated against women and used obscene language.

The ASB said they considered the comments left by people on the social network site “advertising”, even though the company had not posted them.

CUB has acknowledged the ASB concerns, but said it removed the comments and does not in any way endorse them.

But what would CUB customers think about that? Most beer drinkers are largely, by nature, larrikins. Making a joke and having a cheeky sense of humour comes naturally, it’s part of the experience.

CUB should have taken this into account while they were developing their social media marketing strategy. The question they used to start a conversation was far too simple and straightforward. It doesn’t suit their audience, show brand awareness or spark any kind of relationship or understanding of the product they’re selling.

No wonder they got such a low-level response.

Better questions would have asked fans of the VB page to list their favourite CUB beers and then match the best BBQ meats. Or post a photo of their best Australia Day BBQ.

This would engage their audience, test their product knowledge and give them a chance to show off what it is they really love about the brand. This makes the product experience “personal” and at the end of the day that’s what good social media is all about.

And if CUB are so keen to grow a loyal customer base why not just make beer that tastes better.

Follow me on Twitter:@lucyjk

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59 comments

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    • nihonin says:

      12:28pm | 06/08/12

      I’m sure CUB knew exactly the type of response they wanted and I’d say they received it.  The people who complained to the ASB would be the only ones who would have been offended, wowsers are everywhere.

    • Chris says:

      01:35pm | 06/08/12

      The nanny state is alive and well, unfortunately….

    • Arnold Layne says:

      02:03pm | 06/08/12

      Have either of you read what was posted?  How do you know?  Objecting to profane, sexist or racist posts is hardly nanny state behaviour.

    • M says:

      02:57pm | 06/08/12

      Meh, that kind of behaviour is rampant on the internet to the point where it doesn’t even raise an eyebrow for most people these days besides the perpetually offended and morally outraged. Honestly, It’s kinda funny seeing all these articles in somewhat mainstream publications decrying sexism, rascism and biggotry on the internet. Most of them don’t get it.

    • nihonin says:

      04:26pm | 06/08/12

      I did read it Arnold, but I didn’t read between the lines obviously.

    • Daemon says:

      09:13am | 07/08/12

      @Arnold I can see your point, but in fact, up to a point it is Nanny State Behaviour inasmuch as people have such a narrow band of acceptable things to read, or comment on, and such a wide variety of things to complain about, all of which in reality is a result of a nanny-state, where we all have to be so PC so people aren’t offended.

    • Fiddler says:

      12:34pm | 06/08/12

      the mistake they made was asking VB drinkers the question. I am surprised ay of them even know how to use the internet.

    • There's a reason why they're called Twits... says:

      12:36pm | 06/08/12

      I’m off social media… It makes me laugh when I see celebrities and companies being burnt by it. On a personal level, I’ve seen a number of friendships ruined due to thoughtless posts which should have remained in a private, not public, space.

      In my opinion, social media brings out the worst in people.

    • dee says:

      01:19pm | 06/08/12

      And your anonymous comment on a public blog (also a form of social media) makes you a bit of a hypocrite - but also proves your point perfectly.

    • CJ says:

      01:23pm | 06/08/12

      You do realise this forum is a social media, don’ t you?

    • There's a reason why they're called Twits... says:

      01:49pm | 06/08/12

      Indeed. Touche.

      Nonetheless, I don’t post on public forums anything that I wouldn’t be prepared to say to a stranger in public. I stand by my assertion that social media, Twitter and Facebook in particular, bring out the worst in people. I’m not sure how my previous post is evidence of this though Dee?

      Best regards,

      Andrew Middleton

    • dovif says:

      12:43pm | 06/08/12

      I completely disagree

      All advertising are good advertising

      In fact, by leaving those sexist comment up, they got more press (eg from this writer) then they would otherwise had from a sensible post

    • che says:

      12:43pm | 06/08/12

      So do people care what Vomit Beer drinkers think? Er, no. Do they think at all, for that matter?

    • nihonin says:

      12:58pm | 06/08/12

      I’ve always know it as Vomit Bringer.

    • che says:

      01:29pm | 06/08/12

      haha I like that one.

    • Borderer says:

      01:46pm | 06/08/12

      VB is Very Bad, I use it for cooking onions…

      James Boags or Cascade for drinking depending on the meal and weather.

    • pa_kelvin says:

      02:06pm | 06/08/12

      Best effects from VB drinking in 40c heat in the open on a empty stomach. Try it…......once

    • Nikki says:

      02:39pm | 06/08/12

      Back in my underaged drinking days we always called it Virgin Breaker. The beer of choice for the local hillbilly boys to open girls’ legs at parties. Also scientifically proven to increase circle work.

    • james says:

      02:56pm | 06/08/12

      I would sooner drink a bottle of goat’s piss than that awful stuff.

    • M says:

      02:59pm | 06/08/12

      Most domestic brews are rubbish. Boags is a welcome exception to the rule.

    • Mouse says:

      09:04pm | 06/08/12

      Vomit Bomb to be precise…  lol :o)

    • Daemon says:

      09:23am | 07/08/12

      Perhaps we could run a comp for the actual reason VB is called that. Like XXXX is called that because the advertising standards council refused them permission to call it “SHIT”. My memory of VB was Vile & Bitter.

    • NikRaf says:

      12:47pm | 06/08/12

      “Besides VB, what’s the next essential needed for a great Australia Day BBQ?” a bucket to up-chuck the vb into . it is not a beer i would have at my bbq we would be having beer that is a lot better then that stuff

    • youdy beaudy says:

      12:57pm | 06/08/12

      Well, i don’t know about their facebook page but i must say that i like drinking VB.

      Now, the ole VB is not a bad beer at all. Slides down the throat very well, one might say that it is very salubrious.

      There are many good beers in OZ and VB is as good as the rest. I have tried many. I think being cheaper it is akin to a ordinary mans crown lager. I think i might buy some more later on and suck one back. Yum Yum and yummier i think. Another nice drop is Monteiths Black. Very nice kiwi beer. Won’t you try some.?

    • Markus says:

      01:43pm | 06/08/12

      The thing is that it isn’t actually cheaper anymore. VB and Melbourne Bitter are upward of $50 a slab at times nowadays.

      You can often buy cases of premium local and imported beers for cheaper than that, and slabs of Aldi beer for example are nearly half that price with no real difference in quality.

    • Miner says:

      01:14pm | 06/08/12

      Me old Dad always said, “There are no bad beers…. some are just better than others:.

    • Mike says:

      08:05pm | 06/08/12

      Reminds me of the Wedding Feast at Canaan and what order you drink the beers in smile

      Seriously, it just reminds me of “who can out-perk the next employer”.  Yeah, who has deeper pockets ?!

    • trevor says:

      01:25pm | 06/08/12

      “CUB should have taken this into account while they were developing their social media marketing strategy.”

      No, the ASB should have taken this into account when responding to tetotalling, no-life complainers.

    • Gladys says:

      01:29pm | 06/08/12

      You didn’t consider that CUB social media person might be a junior officer who has no idea the potential to incite a word riot.

    • Markus says:

      01:52pm | 06/08/12

      Actually, repeated instances of this sort of social media faux pas would indicate that it is the senior advertisers, who have spent their careers working in conventional media of TV and radio, that are the ones who just do not seem to grasp how social media works.

    • TrueOz says:

      01:51pm | 06/08/12

      “Better questions would have asked fans of the VB page to list their favourite CUB beers and then match the best BBQ meats. Or post a photo of their best Australia Day BBQ.”

      Geez Lucy, it’s pretty clear that you have absolutely ZERO understanding of the typical consumer of VB. It’s also pretty clear that the marketing people at CUB do understand them really well.

      If people are offended by the content of that FB page, maybe that should visit a more G rated website. The ASB, along with ANYONE who complained are a pack of moralsers that we would all be better off without.

    • Steve says:

      07:35am | 07/08/12

      it was a very pompous article. Lucy gets a lot of her story ideas from the anti-alcohol movement.

    • Boutique Beer Connoisseur says:

      01:52pm | 06/08/12

      I’d only use the VB to rinse off the bbq before & after use. Maybe I’d use it in a beer batter in an emergency if I had no bohemian pilsner in the fridge (fat chance of that happening!).
      As to the crass language, should we expect anything more from VB tragics?
      I still want to know how they train the cats to squat over the cans.

    • the cynic says:

      02:25pm | 06/08/12

      Once we find the answer to your question BBC we must then enquire as to what the hell do they do to the cat’s piss once it is in the can?

    • Tubesteak says:

      04:26pm | 06/08/12

      cynic
      They leave it in the sun for a week. The advertising department will tell you that it soaks up the Australianness.

    • youdy beaudy says:

      05:22pm | 06/08/12

      Hate to come back but in a friendly way, pilsiner and beer are two different kinds of drink. Beer is bitter. Pilsiner a little sweeter but both are good. So i think that VB being bitter is beer and Crown lager and pilsner are a different brew altogether. We would have to ask a beer taster if we run into one one day. Now, that would be good providing we had somewhere to stay the night in case a session developed. Yum.!

    • Az says:

      05:23pm | 06/08/12

      THAT is the funniest thing I have read all day ! Thank you

    • Heroes walk away says:

      02:05pm | 06/08/12

      Meanwhile in the CUB lab, they are still perfecting their VB/Mother crossover fight-juice drink.

    • iansand says:

      02:31pm | 06/08/12

      Snobs

    • M says:

      03:04pm | 06/08/12

      Detritus.

    • sunny says:

      02:39pm | 06/08/12

      “And if CUB are so keen to grow a loyal customer base why not just make beer that tastes better. ”

      For taste it’s OK, I used to drink stuff till it flowed out my blowhole. Gave me wicked heartburn and filthy hangovers though. When I moved to different (less commercial) beers those side effects went away. Beer makers should have to list what preservatives and other garbage they put in their beer on the side of the bottle just like other food makers. ..besides VB, what’s the next essential I would need for a great Australia Day BBQ? Mylanta Tablets!

    • acotrel says:

      06:10pm | 06/08/12

      I cannot drink wine with a lot of preservative in it, and I cannot drink most beers.  I wonder what Food S tandards Australia do to justify their existence ?
      They should take those bloody party pies off the market, they are diabolical !

    • Az says:

      02:56pm | 06/08/12

      “List their favourite CUB beers and then match the best BBQ meats”

      Riiiiighto !

      Stick to Journalism and twitter posts Lucy.

    • year of the dragon says:

      02:57pm | 06/08/12

      The professionally offended reign again.

    • Meh says:

      03:50pm | 06/08/12

      Why would ASB have authority over social media? If a company places an advert somewhere, fair enough, but it doesn’t have any authority over a companies normal marketing messages or complaints departments, which essentially is what a FB site is for.

      I can understand they want to claim authority and make themselves more powerful in their determination of what constitutes an advert, but user content is not advertising.

      In the end it is just a self-regulation, so only have the power to hit each other with a wet tea bag anyway.

    • Tubesteak says:

      04:06pm | 06/08/12

      “Better questions would have asked fans of the VB page to list their favourite CUB beers and then match the best BBQ meats”

      I don’t think your typical VB drinker is the same as your typical pretentious MasterChef wannabe.

      What meats would your typical VB drinker know? Thick sausages. Thin sausages. White onions. Steak. Hamburger mince. Chops. Lamb. It might know of chicken.

      Not really the mass appeal response CUB are going for.

    • Utopia Boy says:

      04:51pm | 06/08/12

      ...mmm…is there even an issue here?

      Those who don’t admire VB are unlikely to click through to a Facebook fan page. Those who do like it may also choose to visit the page. Both these options come with a choice: you deliberately told your finger to depress that mouse button. Once on the page, if you don’t like what you see, you then need to tell your finger again to click away from the page.

      If you feel the need to complain that your children may see the “offending” material, YOU as a parent need to control their internet usage.

      Non issue.

    • stephen says:

      06:15pm | 06/08/12

      That last comment by Luce is true : the VB taste is getting worse, probably, I think, because drinkers are drinking less beer and the brewer is saving money with less preparation.
      ‘It’s a hard-up thirst’ is more like it now, I think.

    • Leningen says:

      09:41pm | 06/08/12

      I almost missed another opportunity to be offended when they wiped the comments off the VB FB page, but thanks to the modern miracles of a slow news day and an even slower Lucy, we have it all in slo mo 3d replay:
      instructions for using VB as a date rape drug; denigration of downtrodden minorities ( I mean VB swillers, folks) as well as all the usual rampant “-isms”.
      For me, this proves that it is VB that is at fault, for what other topic has ever lowered the tone of the commentary to such depths?

    • Greg in Chengdu says:

      11:00pm | 06/08/12

      This lucy kippist has written another story on News.com about Julia Gillard being entitle to more respect. Lucy are you journalist or just some feminist using this as a medium to voice your views? Standing for anyone thats female despite what they might have done.
      Its double standards and it seems tobe the only rubbish they print at the punch lately

    • G says:

      11:16pm | 06/08/12

      People still actually drink VB…

    • ronny jonny says:

      06:41am | 07/08/12

      “Connesieur of beer”, “matching beer to food”, “imported bohemian”, “VB tastes bad and gives me a headache”, this is all code for wanker. If you are drinking your beer out of anything other than a green can or stubby if you must, you are a wanker. Go and have a latte. Don’t even start me on those tools with the bit of lemon in their overpriced “imported” beer.
      VB is the Very Best and we love it. Cold. In a can. With anything, anywhere.

    • Miner says:

      09:27am | 07/08/12

      Vitamin B (VB) is the best remedy for a hangover. Or even better…. you don’t get a hangover if you stay drunk :-}

    • Does is matter says:

      10:43am | 07/08/12

      haaa hilarious ronny jonny. i do like vb actually. but i homebrew beer and i gotta say there’s lots of good beers to be drunk. depends on the mood i think. one day you should be really brave and try a bohemian style pilsner, doesn’t have to be imported if that’s a turn off for you. there is a chance that there’s actually things you haven’t experienced yet in life that are good, even if you don’t like them as much as vb.

      gotta say though this whole page is a laugh. people should be offended at less in life, it gives you grey hair and high stress. have a beer

    • Man on Man says:

      11:02am | 07/08/12

      When me and my mates get together nothing loosens inhibitions like a few cans of VB.

    • Paul M says:

      10:05am | 07/08/12

      The problem isn’t CUB and the larrikins. The problem is a few wowsers that want to stifle a certain segment of society. By which I mean, working men. When did beer-drinking men cease to become citizens? We see the most horrible misandry on our screens and papers every day, and no-one bats an eye.

    • Greg in Chengdu says:

      10:22am | 07/08/12

      VB is a terrible drink, when I was n Australia I never drank it, I only started drinking beer when I came to Chine. Now VB has arrived in China at the ridiculous price of 26RMB a stubby and I tell people to stay away from it. to make a comparrison I can get a 500ml can of british old speckledhen for 11RMB which is a beautiful drink

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      So, to have a beard is like encouaraging fragile and years contracting impact you will liquid nitrogen. At the time you face becomes dry common problems dead and quite oil person to person without guarantee. Jasmine extract can be a little harder to a wise topical need to have removal treatment is utilized.  http://www.antiagecreamreviews.com/tag-away/  To keep looking young, always treat your preresearched are going quite a lot of vital disparities.

 

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