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The real target of DB Export campaign

Written By: - Date published: 11:30 am, December 20th, 2010 - 61 comments
Categories: alcohol, business - Tags:

There’s an ad campaign at the moment about how DB Export was supposedly created in reaction to the Black Budget. It’s full of lies and a lot of people see it as a slur on Arnold Nordmeyer and Labour in general. In fact, this odd campaign under the slogan ‘how to lose an election’ isn’t about Labour. It’s a warning to National.

The campaign is centred around the old myth that Labour lost the 1960 election because of the 1958 budget, which was two and half years earlier with two other intervening budgets. Supposedly, the alcohol excise increase had turned working people against Labour. (Jim Anderton has done a good job fisking the campaigns lies here)

Fast forward 52 years and we have a National government that, at the time this campaign was being created, was considering a range of recommendations on alcohol reform, including an alcohol excise increase. It’s these reforms that DB is seeking to influence when it intones that putting up the tax on booze is “how to lose an election”.

DB isn’t the only company using mainstream advertising to try to influence government policy.

There are those Dairy NZ ads that seek to portray the dairy industry as the backbone of the country. The message isn’t ‘consume more dairy products’ or even ‘work in dairy’, it’s ‘let dairy have its way with water resources’.

The same with all those ads for Chorus and Vector that show happy lines workers installing fibre optics. I don’t get to choose which company lays the fibre to my house and neither do you. Those ads weren’t directed at us, they were about trying to enhance public sentiment towards the companies to indirectly influence the decisions on the divi-ing up of the government’s $1.5 billion broadband investment. When you’re competing for a slice of the pie that big, spending a few hundred thousand trying to get the public on your side is worthwhile.

Of course, there are more blatant ad campaigns directed at the government, like that Kiwifruit one from Turners and Growers.

It’s an interesting phenomenon, companies using mass advertising to try to influence the government like this. I wonder if its a function of weak consumer demand. No-one’s bothering to advertise to consumers who have their wallets shut, so advertising has become cheaper and a viable option for companies trying to pressure the government.

61 comments on “The real target of DB Export campaign ”

  1. IrishBill 2

    I wonder if its a function of weak consumer demand. No-one’s bothering to advertise to consumers who have their wallets shut, so advertising has become cheaper and a viable option for companies trying to pressure the government.

    I suspect that it’s also a function of a government that is obsessed with PR and a Prime Minister who has shown he’ll open the taxpayers’ cheque-book if he’s backed into a corner (such as the big fat cheque he wrote Warners).

  2. joe bloggs 3

    oh this post is so hilarious – I laughed and laughed until I pissed myself over the deep seated paranoia held by the LWNJs that everyone’s out to screw Labour.

    Having said that it’s an amusing little cut-and-paste from Eddie though – this phenomenon of companies using mass advertising to try to influence the government has been going on for decades and reminds me of the Japanese car maker that dubbed their new concept 4×4 a Pajero back in 1973 to diss the Third Labour Government for protesting at the French nuclear testing.

    • Juan Manuel Santos 3.1

      I think you need to learn to read past the first two sentences.

    • jbanks 3.2

      “oh this post is so hilarious – I laughed and laughed until I pissed myself over the deep seated paranoia held by the LWNJs that everyone’s out to screw Labour.”

      Yep. It’s weed hazed dribble like this that keeps the far left marginalised and powerless.

      Thanks EDDIE!

  3. Colonial Viper 4

    oh this post is so hilarious – I laughed and laughed until I pissed myself over the deep seated paranoia held by the LWNJs that everyone’s out to screw Labour.

    Wrong conclusion. These corporates are out to screw our democracy like they have done to the US democracy. By using their money and media power to sway public opinion and hence to sway Government.

    Both Labour and NAT are susceptible (in the US both Democratic and Republican representatives are under pressure by corporates – this is a non partisan issue).

    It shows once more – big money has the strongest media voice in this country.

    The left need to purchase its own MSM channel.

    • Gina 4.1

      The left need to purchase its own MSM channel.

      I was told recently that it costs $165 to set up a freeview channel. Can anyone point me to some details on this? And what equipment would we need?

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        I am presuming a hundreds of thousands of dollars of studio space and camera gear for a basic set up. Operating costs with staff etc will be an issue.

        But you raise a very interesting opportunity.

        And of course, YouTube could also be utilised.

    • big bruv 4.2

      “The left need to purchase its own MSM channel.”

      You are not happy with TVNZ being a mouthpiece for the Labour party?

      • Colonial Viper 4.2.1

        Who the frak needs a mouthpiece for the Labour Party? And what does the NAT + Paul Henry loving TVNZ have anything to do with the Left?

        What I want to see is a full scale media channel for an inclusive political and social Left movement.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.2.2

        Considering that it’s actually a mouthpiece for the National Party…

    • Murray 4.3

      This could be the Fox News of NZ

    • Herodotus 4.4

      The left need to purchase its own MSM channel- So we can get a biased version of Fox!!
      Letters to the Ed in NZ Herald regarding 4 year terms, was interesting. Cannot get link as NZH do not dispaly letters. But what is was commenting on if the pollys want 4 years- we require in return a greater level of scrutiny by the media and more than 20 sec sound bites.
      Also in time mag 6th Dec reviewing the decade.65% of wage gains were by top 1% of earners.
      (also on same mag St Louis man made (Katrina) catastrophe and the oil gas cartel controling power)
      Yet here in other places The left battle many marginally well paid 4-12% of the pop with the Tax systems. Note to Left Wingers WRONG ENEMY, if you cannot id the right enemy how do youexpect to win !!! 😉

    • TightyRighty 4.5

      “These corporates are out to screw our democracy like they have done to the US democracy. By using their money and media power to sway public opinion and hence to sway Government.”

      and what exactly are the unions trying to do through their parliamentary arm, the labour party? it’s cuts both ways CV. unfortunately, one side lost long ago, i’ll give you a hing, it wasn’t business.

  4. MikeE 5

    I eagerly await the Standard fisking of Tui, proving once and for all that its not brewed by hot women in Mangitanoka, or that Pure Blonde is in fact not brewed by angels in the mountains..

    Those damned ad agencies… how dare they

    • Carol 5.1

      And yet, MikeE, most viewers and consumers can tell the difference between a deliberately unrealistic spoof, and the inclusion of REAL historical events (albeit in a distorted & dishonest way), reinforced by using documentary footage.

  5. Nick C 6

    Oh. My. God. This is hilarious!

    You actually think that this is a secret ploy by DB Breweries to influence alcohol legislation?! When there is widespread support for such reform??

    I’ll tell you what the secret plot is:


    The historical story is just to make the ad campaign more interesting. As consumers we’re bombarded with ads these days and advertisers are constantly looking for new ways to make their product stand out. Telling this sort of story can make people interested. Its not aimed at John Key or Simon Power it’s aimed at kiwis who like beer. You need a drink Eddie..

    • Carol 6.1

      Oh, so they just selected that particular historical story at random, Nick C/ The thing about advertising is that they have to make a pitch for sales in as short a time as possible. Nothing in an ad is selected at random, but for maximum impact.

      I’ll tell you what the secret plot is:


      And yet, if the legislation FOR alcohol reform goes ahead, less beer will be sold. So is it beyond the realms of possibility that the historical content is chosen and distorted to influence legislation, (and popular support for/against it), that will result in less beer being sold if the legislation is implemented?

      • Nick C 6.1.1

        They selected this particular story

        1) Because it directly involves their company and their brand
        2) Because they were marketing a new brand of beer, which was based on their old brand of beer.
        3) Because when told well (albiet not entirely correctly) its entertaining.

      • TightyRighty 6.1.2

        you make a huge assumption when you state that less beer will be sold if legislative reform for the sale of alcohol is made. the only possible way you can state that with any certainty is if beer is outlawed (the black budgets real aim?) and even then, people will still drink it. I don’t care about the price, when i want a beer, i’m having it. and if i want several, then i will have several.

        just because you think you can correct peoples choices and desires to meet your victorian idea of ideal society by limiting where you can buy, when you can buy and the price of, alcohol, doesn’t mean the people will listen. not that you care, as long as you tell them.

  6. Murray 7

    OH MY GOD! Are you saying its far worse then Eddie points out?
    Obviously also a secret plot between the US and John Key.
    The proof is the fact that he holidays in Hawaii. The Traitor
    Oh the dastardly deeds of these nasty corporates.
    Only the left can save us from this nightmare.
    Phil “Sloppy But Nothing There” Goff to the rescue

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      I think Murray has forgotten the simple equation that

      More alcohol consumption = More societal harm

      Corporates only care about their own bottom line, the costs they externalise on to wider society – meh, not their problem.

      • TightyRighty 7.1.1

        if an individual chooses to drink and then cause harm, it is not the corporations fault for the individuals choice to consume to excess and any subsequent cost to society. DB could be trying to increase market share in a shrinking market by reinforcing the pedigree of it’s beer and thereby differentiating itself from the seemingly endless brands available. that’s not saying more alcohol in general is being consumed, it’s saying the suppliers are readjusting their share of demand. You won’t see it that way, but you are rather blind to reason and therefore stupid, so I’m not surprised.

        the mind is like a parachute, it only works when it is open.

      • Nick C 7.1.2

        “More alcohol consumption = More societal harm”

        No it doesnt. Certainly more alcohol fueled domestic violence/hospital visits= more harm. Most alcohol consumption does no societal harm. Consider that in many European countries (France, Italy) they consumer more alcohol her head than NZ but compared to NZ they have less of a ‘drinking problem’.

        Should also consider the positive externalities of alcohol consumption. Many people can make for better company after a few drinks 🙂

        • Colonial Viper

          My mistake Nick C, I thought we were talking about alcohol consumption here in NZ not in Europe or Asia.

          Here we take after the British model of alcohol consumption much more, “Hey its Friday night, time for a pint and a fight”.

          • Nick C

            Errr that was just an example. Believe it or not safe, fun and non harmful alcohol consumption can occur in New Zealand too.

          • TightyRighty

            I went out drinking thursday, friday afternoon and night and saturday. many pints were consumed by many people. town was heaving. I was in two entertainment areas and saw not a single fight. stop casting aspersions on the majority because you don’t like the actions of the minority that can’t handle their drink

            • Colonial Viper

              I suppose you didn’t keep watch outside ED on those nights because the ED staff I know are pretty clear what the pattern is on Thu, Fri and Sat nights after midnight, week after week after week after week

              • TightyRighty

                you are so slow. either that or deliberately ignorant. Those people who go to ED are the minority I was talking about. I know you are more than happy to curtail the freedoms of the majority in a futile attempt to “save” this darwin award winning bunch.

                Do you always have weasel words on hand to protect your weak arguments that are rooted in blind ideology?

    • felix 7.2

      Word to the Nick & Murray brain trust:

      It’s not a secret. It’s on TV.

      (Which is probably why no-one said “secret” except you two geniuses.)

      • Nick C 7.2.1

        Not very perceptive are you felix? If the DB executives were sitting in the boardroom thinking “How can we make something which looks like an ad to sell beer but is actually aimed at whipping up public opposition to alcohol reform” then yes, that would be a secret.

        This is as opposed to the Turners and Growers campaign which is openly aimed at influencing public opinion on govt policy. They are both ad campaigns, but in Eddies brain one is openly about influencing public opinion, one is secretly about it.

        • felix

          zOMGZ false dichotomy: it IS an ad to sell beer, moron.

          (p.s. It also discusses govt policy. Not secretly either.)

  7. Jeremy Harris 8

    I think this bordering on outright delusional paranoia…

    I’m a politico and have seen the full length version (it seems like it was at least 5 minutes long and Nordmeyer was mentioned once, maybe twice) and didn’t even think of the anti-Labour connection…

    If anything it is pro-Labour as the working class man triumphs at the end, retaking the pub from the toff toffersons…

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      You missed Eddie’s point that this is targeted at subverting the role of Government, whether it is a National or Labour Govt.

      Same issue in the US. It hardly matters whether its Republicans or Democrats in charge. The lines of power in the country have been so heavily fiscalised that the corporate lobbyists continue to pull the main strings whether its Bush or its Obama in the Oval Office.

      I think this bordering on outright delusional paranoia…

      Not sure how you can say this is “delusional paranoia” (what are you a psychologist now too) when the effect of corporate money on the processes of US Government e.g. in the wikileaks cables, is pretty bloody real and pretty bloody clear.

      • Murray 8.1.1

        Most Grownups are able to tell what is advertising and what is apparently targeted at subverting the role of Government, “Except for the paranoid left it seems”
        CV I do not drink alcohol out of choice. I would rather sit back and watch the lemmings destroy themselves.

        • Colonial Viper

          “Except for the paranoid left it seems”
          CV I do not drink alcohol out of choice. I would rather sit back and watch the lemmings destroy themselves.

          Murray so what if **you** don’t drink alcohol out of choice. Those “lemmings” destroying themselves include your friends, family members and colleagues, in case you haven’t noticed. Good little spectator sport you have there mate.

          And unless most “Grownups” (to use your phrase) have also done media studies or psychology its extremely likely they have **no idea** of the impact or influence of marketing messages, political or commercial.

          PS its not paranoia if they are really out to get you 😉

  8. felix 9

    Jeremy Harris said:
    “I’m a politico and have seen the full length version (it seems like it was at least 5 minutes long and Nordmeyer was mentioned once, maybe twice) and didn’t even think of the anti-Labour connection…”

    Murray said:
    “Most Grownups are able to tell what is advertising and what is apparently targeted at subverting the role of Government, “Except for the paranoid left it seems””

    Guys. I would take the pronouncements of your awesomely clear and rational grown-up politico powers of perception a lot more seriously if you hadn’t both missed the point of the post by exactly 180 degrees.

    • Jeremy Harris 9.1

      I was referring to this line:

      It’s full of lies and a lot of people see it as a slur on Arnold Nordmeyer and Labour in general.

      I should have made that clear…

      On the wider point of the post, it is just as delusional, the company is trying to sell by beer by embracing an anti government message (in this instance) and it’s a good strategy, most people like beer and hate part or all of governmental efforts to control their choices over alcohol consumption…

      • felix 9.1.1

        Er, no. You said “If anything it is pro-Labour as the working class man triumphs at the end, retaking the pub from the toff toffersons

        Which very strongly suggests that you believed that the post had make a case for the ad being anti-Labour.

        (Which in turn very strongly suggests that you didn’t read the post. Good to see that you have now though.)

        • Jeremy Harris

          I suggest you read the post again, it does make such a statement, admittedly one line, but it was that line that I was commenting on…

          • felix

            The line you quoted makes no such case. It suggests that others have made such a case, which is quite a different thing altogether.

            Still you must get confused dashing from blog to blog, I’m not surprised you forget which one you’re commenting on.

            And I take back what I said about you reading the post. If you are maintaining that the post claims the ad is anti-labour then you clearly still haven’t read it at all.

  9. tc 10

    It’d be much cheaper (and more traditional) to just have a quiet chat over a round of golf (or a glass of JK’s finest) or even better a ‘chance meeting at an industry event’ and then make that ‘donation’ to the waitemata trust…..why change the habit of a lifetime.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      Because Govts find it far easier to do things if the public have been conned into supporting it.

      Don’t worry tc, the quiet chats over champers and golf all happened in the early days to plan this ad campaign.

  10. Irascible 11

    What is disturbing is the distortion of history to serve the interests of commerce (incidentally with a linked political message). The distortion becomes embedded in individual belief systems and creates problems in any discussion on NZ history & society.
    As a teacher I come across such problems all the time – in literature it becomes Disney who wrote – Peter Pan, Wind in the Willows, The Little Mermaid and Grimm’s Fairy stories. It becomes the USA solved the Enigma Codes in W/W II and also every battle of World War I & II even when they weren’t there.
    Colenso & DB are banking on the collective ignorance to justify their rewrite of NZ history.
    we need more History being taught in schools to correct such commercial arrogance.

  11. tc 12

    I’m just so shocked to find out that advertising isn’t telling the truth……I’m taking that lynx can back as I suspect I’ll not been mobbed by bikini clad women anytime soon….damm.

    I find the ad more as much a dig at that other former NZ brewer who was the unassailable #1 in the land until they decided to become an australasian brewer and allowed control to drift into foreign hands…..lost focus, lost quality, lost #1 but the new owners (kirin) couldn’t give an F…all yours DB good luck with that.

    • Murray 12.1

      Isn’t all advertising a distortion of reality? Its really rather strange that the lefts alternative reality collides with advertising’s distortion of reality. Shades of the Matrix anyone

    • Daveski 12.2

      Actually, I think someone in India ?? actually took legal action against Lynx on those grounds!!!

      Honestly, I thought 1 April had come early. You can now see why the public think so little of Labour if eddie is a card carrying member.

      Perhaps eddie is moonlighting at the Dim Post and accidentally posted on the wrong site??

      • Colonial Viper 12.2.1

        Yeah probably time to ban TV advertising, limit it to between the hours of 8pm and 12am, none on Sundays.

        Also limit the amount of advertising in any news paper to a maximum 20% of the paper, so that they have to start relying on sales and subscriptions once more, for their revenues.

  12. The War You Don’t See
    This must see documentary, covers political advertising, amongst many disturbing facts.
    Available as a torrent http://onebigtorrent.org/torrents/10312/The-War-You-Dont-See–John-Pilger-2010
    Could supply copies.

    In an extraordinary alliance of TV and cinema, John Pilger’s new film, ‘The War You Don’t See’, opened in the UK mid-December. Having premiered at The Barbican on Tuesday 7 December 2010, the first Pilger film since 2007 started its UK run at Curzon Soho in London on Sunday 12 December. On Tuesday 14 December, ITV1 broadcast ‘The War You Don’t See’ at 10.35pm. The film is available to watch on the ITV website until 14 January 2011 (UK users only).

    The new film is a powerful and timely investigation into the media’s role in war, tracing the history of ’embedded’ and independent reporting from the carnage of World War One to the destruction of Hiroshima, and from the invasion of Vietnam to the current war in Afghanistan and disaster in Iraq. As weapons and propaganda become even more sophisticated, the nature of war is developing into an ‘electronic battlefield’ in which journalists play a key role, and civilians are the victims. But who is the real enemy?John Pilger says in the film: “We journalists… have to be brave enough to defy those who seek our collusion in selling their latest bloody adventure in someone else’s country… That means always challenging the official story, however patriotic that story may appear, however seductive and insidious it is. For propaganda relies on us in the media to aim its deceptions not at a far away country but at you at home… In this age of endless imperial war, the lives of countless men, women and children depend on the truth or their blood is on us… Those whose job it is to keep the record straight ought to be the voice of people, not power.”

  13. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays
    Edward Louis Bernays (November 22, 1891 – March 9, 1995), was an American pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda along with Ivy Lee, referred to in his obituary as “the father of public relations”.[1] Combining the ideas of Gustave Le Bon and Wilfred Trotter on crowd psychology with the psychoanalytical ideas of his uncle, Dr. Sigmund Freud, Bernays was one of the first to attempt to manipulate public opinion using the subconscious.

    THEY worked it out years ago – the public can be moved in any direction they want.

  14. George.com 15

    For all the posts about the ads just being about selling beer, the headline for the ads “How to lose an election” is an unusual one. Building a myth about how ‘Coutts saved beer drinkers’ is one matter. It may, if taken with some salt, just be a creative fairytale very loosely based on history. What Coutts did, according to the DB fairytale, and Labout losing the election have in common is another matter altogether. The only connection between the two is beer. The creative story being that Coutts reacted to the tax hike and created a new beer. This action has nothing to do with Labour losing the election.

    Two seperate strands within the fairytale. Hence why start an ad, extolling the virtues of Coutts the saviour, with a comment about governments losing elections.

    One simple conclusion, a warning to the government of the day.

  15. erentz 16

    Seems to be a bit of a paradox here. DB are saying they only exist because of Labour’s 1958 budget, but if that’s the case they should be thanking the 1958 budget for giving them their existence, NOT saying it shouldn’t have happened. Who the heck drinks DB export these days anyway.

  16. Interesting 17

    It is sad that people have turned this article in to something that I dont think eddie probably had in mind.

    Eddie is right, there is far more influence in the media aimed at the government in an attempt to pressure them into doing what they want them to do.

    Using an ad is a very good way of getting the message across without it seemingly too (if at all) political.

    If people read the article properly Eddie was using it as a warning of the ways in which organisations andd others are using media advertising to pressure government and political parties.

    People have lost the message he was trying to get across because they cant get past their political bias (especially the righties in this case it would appear).

    Thanks for the post Eddie.

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