Beer-for-gas promo draws complaints
BY BRIAN DALY
MONTREAL - "Buy beer, save 5 cents a litre on gas."
The ad outside an east-end Montreal gas station has drawn ire from social groups, complaints from citizens and an investigation by a national advertising association.
The poster features a tall cold one and offers Petro Canada cardholders a gas rebate if they buy a 2-4 of Coors Light.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving says the promotion wouldn't even be legal in most provinces.
"Quebec is so liberal that way, and I don't mean liberal in a good way," MADD CEO Andrew Murie told QMI Agency by telephone from Toronto.
"What if somebody takes advantage of this and causes damage to someone else? Is Petro Canada going to be responsible?"
Murie said it's up to the province to crack down on beer promotions, since gas stations have every incentive to offer alcoholic enticements.
"If this makes more people come to Petro Canada than anywhere else, why wouldn't (they) do it?"
Beer is sold in all convenience stores and many gas stations in Quebec.
A spokeswoman for Suncor Energy Inc., which operates Petro Canada stations, defended the ads Friday.
"The promotion of these types of products are common practice in the province," Nicole Fisher told QMI Agency in an e-mail.
Meanwhile, several people have filed complaints with Toronto-based Advertising Standards Canada, a group created by the advertising industry to police itself.
But MADD's CEO is skeptical industry self-regulation will do anything to curb beer promotion.
— With files from Stephan Dussault