Moa Beer ruffles feathers with prospectus

Moa Beer's investment prospectus is stirring controversy and not just because it could be the first such document to feature paid advertising.

Moa's chief executive Geoff Ross said proceeds from the advertising - for luxury car Aston Martin and his other listed company Ecoya among others - had contributed to the production costs of the prospectus, but also showed Moa management's pedigree as marketers.

Ross believed the in-prospectus advertising could be a world first concept which helped to sell the company's reputation as an innovative, marketing-driven business.

The prospectus was issued yesterday to inform potential investors in Moa Group, which will float on the NZX sharemarket next month, of its business plans and how it will use the $16 million new capital it intends to raise.

He said the prospectus was targeted at Moa's prospective investors who were largely the same demographic of young and middle-aged, aspiring, affluent men who drink the product.

Other pictorial content in the prospectus shows the company's directors in sharp Mad Men-style suits and a young woman in a mini-skirt, business shirt and tie sipping Moa suggestively.

Another page depicts the woman kneeling before Moa's cigar-toting general manager Gareth Hughes with an ash-tray held above her head.

Ross said the images were a reflection of the Moa brand's values and provided some entertainment for those who had requested copies of the document.

The prospectus included "tips for modern manhood" and was promoted as "your guide to owning a brewery".

Bloggers and Twitter users have criticised what they consider the company's sexist imagery and philosophy under the hash-tag #momentsofmanhood.

Twitter user @Dovil tweeted: "Knowing women love what your selling, but being too manly to take their lady money #momentsofmanhood".

Ross brushed off the criticism saying he had designed the prospectus to get "cut-through" and get people's attention for the content and entertainment value, as well as for the company information.

Women would realise the imagery appealed Moa's male target market, he said.

"If you were to consider that this is beer which of course is largely, in Moa's case, the domain of aspiring, affluent men.

"Then you think of other beer advertisers in the past like Tui, which was apparently run by women, I really don't think we've gone any further than a whole lot of other beer brands."

Ross said the "sexy, stylish" brand image was compatible with his desire to see Moa Beer become synonymous with New Zealand.

"A lot of exporters of New Zealand brands fall short - they say we're from New Zealand and they expect that to be the entirety of their brand proposition, but that's not enough, you've got to have a personality.

"In the world of brands you've got to have a whole number of layers to your personality, you've got to be sexy and entertaining and stylish."

The Financial Markets Authority, which regulates the publishing of investment prospectuses, said it had signed off the document and was "not an arbiter of good taste".

"Also we do not seek to stifle innovation - innovation is an important part of promoting growth in New Zealand's capital markets," said the FMA's head of primary regulatory operations Sue Brown.