On Wednesday, peoples of all nations will celebrate World Consumer’s Day (that holiest of capitalist holidays, not including Christmas). Meanwhile, Chinese market watchdogs have released lists of consumer rights’ infringement cases in anticipation of the festivities, further cementing their ideological position as champions of
consumerism the masses. In the most high-profile case, Chinese courts lashed out against one of Shanghaiist’s favorite kings, the King of Beers, for what were found to be misleading promotional practices during a recent New Year’s giveaway campaign.
This report in the Shanghai Daily details the campaign’s infringements upon consumers’ rights which led to the 329,460 RMB (US$40,674) settlement:
[Budweiser] ads said that buyers would get a lucky draw card when they bought a six-pack of beer. The card would give buyers the chance to win a 17-inch liquid crystal display TV set, an Apple MP3 player or an electric tooth brush. It also claimed the event was supervised by a district public notary office.
Officials said the company didn’t tell consumers that the event was actually going on in 29 cities at the same time, which means the chances of winning were very low.
Further investigation found that the lucky draw cards were placed in the six-packs after the promotion began, so consumers who bought at the start of the campaign didn’t get a card.
It also found the public notary office was only involved in designing the lucky draw cards, and played no role in their distribution or choosing the winners.
The King of Beers must be feeling the sting of this reprisal. After all, $40,000 is a lot of clams to shell out for what sound like industry-standard misleading practices in their New Year’s promotion. Shanghaiist thinks that China is setting the stage for a coup against Budweiser’s claim to the Beer Throne. Government officials might be looking to set up Reeb, now only the Court Jester of Beers, as the Chairman of Beers some time in 2006 — should push come to shove, Shanghaiist fears that Budweiser and its capitalist running dogs, Coors Light and Heineken, will have little to say in the matter.
Photo from Flickr.