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.