Thai brewery forced to pull ad

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BANGKOK -- Boon Rawd Brewery has suspended broadcast of its popular TV commercial for new low-budget Leo beer after some of Thailand's 76 provincial governors complained it spoiled their image.

The commercial showed a governor raising his glass in a toast to an empty banquet hall. He'd enjoyed his beer so much he hadn't realized the wedding guests had left. The ad led to Leo beer being dubbed "the governor's beer."

The Local Administrators' Association, representing the provincial governors, has complained to the agency responsible, Dentsu, Young & Rubicam.

But Chatchai Viratyosin, deputy manager of marketing for Boon Rawd, says most consumers don't take the ad literally. "We had no intention of having our new product called 'governor's beer,'|" Mr. Chatchai says. "We planned for it to be called Leo or Seua [tiger]." He adds: "We didn't think the ad insulted anyone."

Chalerm Meearee, a Leo drinker, says he doesn't understand what the fuss is about, and says other TV commercials are more offensive than Leo's. "Some even show a robber coming into a gold shop, and they get away with it, while Leo gets complaints," he says. "I don't care whether it's governor beer, soldier beer or teacher beer."

Copyright August 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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