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02.2012

Massachusetts Beverage Business

archivedAtPressTime

SERIOUSLY STUPID HUMAN TRICKS

It would be comical if it wasn’t so senselessly tragic. Three men in Western Australia suffered horrific burns after branding themselves with novelty branding irons given away as part of a Jack Daniel’s promotion. Health advocates are now demanding legislation that stops “reckless” alcohol marketing. The men, who are in their 2Os and 3Os, were admitted to Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) for surgery and emergency skin grafts. One branded his backside while the others chose to plunge the hot metal rod with the words “Old No.7 Brand”, in reference to the Tennessee bourbon, on the back of a hand and a leg. The irons were part of a barbecue pack promotion offered with bottles of Jack Daniel’s. RPH head of plastic surgery and burns surgeon Mark Duncan-Smith branded the gimmick “an irresponsible cocktail for disaster. You can’t stop everyone from doing something silly, but when you are actually providing a method for people to injure themselves, even though it is still their responsibility, it is providing fuel in one hand and a lighter in the other,” he said. Dr. Duncan-Smith said the patients sought emergency treatment days after realizing they were badly injured. He had concerns that a video posted on YouTube of a young man being branded with one of the irons could trigger a dangerous trend. McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth director Mike Daube said there was a “glaring gap in curbs on alcohol promotion”. “These are entirely predictable outcomes from an outrageously irresponsible promotion,” Daube said. “If you put together young men, spirits and a branding iron, you can hardly be surprised if they get drunk and damage themselves and others. There are no controls whatever, none on alcohol promotions of this kind.” He said he would write to the federal and state governments calling for measures to halt irresponsible alcohol promotions. But Jack Daniel’s brand owner Brown-Forman Australia says it has done nothing wrong because the product comes with a warning. “We are confident this promotional item was offered with the appropriate statement of warning and we are sorry to learn that a few individuals may have harmed themselves through use other than advised,” Brown-Forman managing director Marshall Farrer said. Farrer said it was a “one off” Australia-only promotion that ended in August, but the branding irons were still being offered for sale on the internet by other parties such as eBay. State Mental Health Minister Helen Morton, who is also responsible for drug and alcohol issues, supported regulation changes on alcohol promotions, but said it was a federal matter. “However, at the end of the day, how can we legislate against that level of stupidity,” she said. Here’s what the branding iron had on its warning label: This branding iron can cause serious skin burns. Do not touch metal parts with fingers, skin or any flammable material. Branding iron will remain hot long after being heated. Remove this label before first use.
Perhaps they read the last line first.

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