Foster’s boss: Our Boony doll was guilty of normalising binge drinking

The man in charge of Foster’s multimillion dollar sponsorship budget today said that the group’s award winning talking VB Boony Doll had “normalised binge drinking”.  

Speaking at today’s national conference of Sponsorship Australasia, Chris Maxwell, national sponsorship manager for Fosters Group, called on the whole industry to work together to promote responsible alcohol marketing to fend off prohibitive legislation.

The talking Boony doll was a caricature of the cricketer David Boon. Along with a Beefy doll representing Ian Botham, the dolls had implanted sound chips which were triggered by TV coverage of the cricket.

One of Boon’s claims to notoriety was consuming 52 cans of beer on a flight from Sydney to London before the 1989 Ashes.

Two years ago, the dolls won a series of awards for agency George Patterson Y&R Melbourne, including a Gold Clio and Gold at the New York Festivals Interactive and Alternative Media Show.

However, Foster’s use of Boon as the face of VB was criticised by anti-alcohol campaigners.

Today Maxwell conceded that the critics were right. He said: “At the time the business decided he was a good Aussie bloke. However, we came under a lot of criticism. We did not have the foresight. In glorification of that behaviour we have added to the normalisation of binge drinking in Australia.”

He said that beer brands need to be much more careful in their sporting links. He said: “We can’t be party to the Australian cricket team pouring beer all over themselves after a win. We cannot normalise that sort of behaviour.”


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