Calendar's naked beer use falls flat

Brewery giant Lion Nathan is distancing itself from a controversial calendar produced by the North Otago Rugby Union that features nude senior rugby players surrounded by Speight's beer.

The calendar, raising money for junior rugby, has been criticised by the Alcohol Advisory Council, who said the alcohol featured on the cover picture was too prominent. Speight's is a sponsor of the union.

Yesterday, Lion Nathan communications manager Judy Walter said the company, which owns the Speight's brand, had had "discussions" with the union on Thursday, but said it was not taking any further action.

"It's a matter for [union chief executive] Colin Jackson and his team. "They are an organisation of their own right and naturally they have their own objectives that they are trying to achieve."

However, she said Lion Nathan did not condone the use of Speight's in the calendar.

"It doesn't meet any of our codes for responsible marketing activity. We wouldn't have done it and we would not have condoned it if we knew is was happening."

The calendar had had unfortunate and unintended consequences for the union.

"There's probably been some lessons learnt for everybody."

She said it had been intended as a good-natured fundraiser and not intended to cause an outcry.

Mr Jackson said earlier this week the calendar had been meant in "good fun" and hoped people would understand it was for a good cause.

"I'm sure everyone will enter into the good taste and good faith that we entered it in."

The Timaru Herald