Culture

Coopers Is Copping A Backlash After Partnering With The Bible Society On A Super Weird Video

Coopers is now trying to distance itself from the controversial campaign.

Two Liberal MPs walk into a pub and start debating marriage equality.

It already sounds like the start of a bad joke, but what if the “pub” was actually Parliament House and the “debate” was an advertising campaign put together by Coopers Brewery and the Bible Society of Australia. Now it’s starting to sound more like a nightmare, right?

Welcome to ‘Keeping it light’, a very strange video produced by the Bible Society to commemorate it’s 200th birthday.

The video features Liberal MPs Tim Wilson, who is agnostic and a supporter of marriage equality, and Andrew Hastie, a devout Christian. The pair debate the issue of marriage equality while drinking bottles of Coopers Premium Light.

The Bible Society and Coopers have recently partnered on a “creative campaign to reach even more Australians with God’s word.” As part of the partnership Coopers will produce a limited edition range of its light beer commemorating the Bible Society. Cartons of the beer will feature different Bible verses, because that’s… perfectly normal.

On top of that the two organisations will host “light discussions on the heaviest topics”, starting with the debate on marriage equality.

The brewery’s partnership with the Bible Society has been heavily criticised on social media, and there are even calls for a boycott.

Sydney’s Hollywood Hotel has announced that it will be “reassessing” its relationship with Coopers in light of the partnership.

In response to the controversy Coopers issued a statement saying that it “did not give permission for our Premium Light beer to feature in, or ‘sponsor’ the Bible Society’s ‘Keeping it Light’ video featuring Andrew Hastie and Tim Wilson.”

“We would like all Coopers fans to know that we support and embrace all of our beer drinking community,” the company said.

But the company has longstanding ties to the Bible Society through its charity arm, the Coopers Brewery Foundation. According to the Foundation’s mission statement it funds organisations that are “based on Christian values”.

In 2014 the Managing Director of Coopers, Tim Cooper, featured in a video organised by the City Bible Forum titled “Beer: Proof that God loves us?”. The company is also a long-term donor to the South Australia Liberal Party.

As a private company Coopers is obviously entitled to partner with whoever it likes. But in an environment where a majority of Australians support marriage equality, and want the issue dealt with, the company probably should’ve predicted this kind of response.