Queen's University

Labatt threatens to sue over Luka Magnotta photo: Queen's University expert

2012-06-07

Queen’s University marketing professor Ken Wong can talk about Labatt Breweries threatening to sue the Montreal Gazette because of a photo that ran in the newspaper showing accused killer Luka Magnotta holding a Labatt Blue.

Labatt says the image has a negative effect on its brand, but Professor Wong feels the beer company is going a little too far trying to protect its image.

“While I can appreciate that Labatt’s sells a highly image-related brand and has invested millions in creating positive brand associations, it is highly unlikely that any consumer is going to draw inferences about a connection between the brand and Magnotta – especially based upon a single exposure. Indeed, if anything, they have drawn attention to the photo and likely increased the size of the audience that will now see it. So, even if they are correct – which I doubt – they may well have worsened the damage. They would have been better to let the image fade into the background,” says Professor Wong. “I think this is an occasion where they may have felt that they had to take all due diligence in protecting the brand and the cost of a letter is pretty minor. What they failed to appreciate the larger fallout that would ensue.”

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