Admin should take notes

Halloween served as another promotional opportunity for the James Ready beer brand.

Students were offered free pumpkins last week on University Avenue — an initiative that added to a visible James Ready campaign in the Student Ghetto.

The beer company has an effective marketing strategy but students should be aware of its implications.

A senior manager at Moosehead breweries, which brews James Ready, told the Journal on Oct. 14 that Queen’s was targeted because of high James Ready sales near the University.

At the Princess Street Beer Store near campus, James Ready comprises 12 per cent of all beer sold.

To promote the product, James Ready hired two Queen’s students as campus diplomats. The diplomats claim to have student interests at heart, offering students incentives including a chance to win a $200 scholarship for the best pumpkin carving. These motives obviously come second to the brand’s hope to increase sales in the area.

The James Ready campaign appeals to individuals and clearly incentivizes their support. It’s telling that more student houses had James Ready lawn signs than political candidate signs for the Oct. 6 provincial election.

Student support shouldn’t be seen as validating a drinking culture. It’s just evidence that students respond to free stuff. Displaying a sign is a minor cost compared to the benefit of free beer.

Given the drinking culture at Queen’s and discussions surrounding University policy towards alcohol, the James Ready advertising campaign is somewhat troubling. The casual observer who walks down University Avenue sees scores of lawn signs promoting James Ready beer.

Students should consider the image this portrays and whether we want our neighbourhood plastered with James Ready signs.

The James Ready campaign is effective because it appeals to the student level.

It’s outside of the University’s jurisdiction to quell the James Ready campaign, but administrators should take note of the tactics used by the beer company’s campus diplomats.

While the University shouldn’t show support for a drinking culture, it’s senseless to try to eliminate it.

Drinking is a habit that can be mitigated but not stopped, and the University should borrow James Ready’s methods to affect change in campus culture.

The ad campaign has been more effective at mobilizing students than any campaign to keep students away from the annual Aberdeen street party.

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