Boston Beer Pulls Affleck Spots

BOSTON–Talk about using the wrong messenger. Boston Beer has pulled a radio campaign in which company founder and chairman Jim Koch passes a Samuel Adams to actor Ben Affleck. This week Affleck checked himself into a rehab center to get treatment for alcohol abuse.

The ill-timed spots were promoting Project Greenlight, a contest for screenwriters sponsored in part by Affleck and his frequent co-star Matt Damon.

“The Boston Beer Co. is suspending the radio commercials promoting Project Greenlight,” the company said in a brief statement faxed to Adweek by Clarke & Co., the client’s public relations agency. “[Boston Beer] respects Ben Affleck, his decision, and we wish him well.”

A photograph of Affleck, beer bottle in hand, posing with Koch, was removed yesterday from Boston Beer’s Web site.

The faux pas comes at a tricky time for McCarthy Mambro Bertino, Boston, which crafted the radio spots. The startup has been struggling to retain its lead agency status on the $15-20 million account. Other agencies–including Arnold, Boston, and roster shop Deutsch, New York–have been in talks with Boston Beer, which has shifted its ad business numerous times in the past few years. Arnold has said it is no longer pursuing the assignment; Deutsch has declined comment.