Sponsors of an Award Demand that They Receive It

In an odd turn of events, the 2012 BII Scotland Annual Awards ceremony surprised attendees. The British Institute of Innkeeping Scottish Awards includes "Bar Operator of the Year," a prize that judges say was slated to go to BrewDog, a brewery in North East Scotland. However, at the last minute, the award went to Diageo, one of the event's main sponsors.


On its blog, BrewDog had quite a bit to say about the situation. From the company's perspective, BrewDog was the clear winner, in part because of comments made by Kenny Mitchell, BII's chairman of the award committee: 

"Diageo (the main sponsor) approached us at the start of the meal and said under no circumstances could the award be given to BrewDog. They said if this happened they would pull their sponsorship from all future BII events and their representatives would not present any of the awards on the evening.

"We were as gobsmacked as you by Diageo's behaviour. We made the wrong decision under extreme pressure. We should have stuck to our guns and gave the award to BrewDog."

A Diageo spokesperson issued a simple statement in response to the controversy:

"There was a serious misjudgement by Diageo staff at the awards dinner on Sunday evening in relation to the Bar Operator of the Year Award, which does not reflect in any way Diageo's corporate values and behaviour.

"We would like to apologise unreservedly to BrewDog and to the British Institute of Innkeeping for this error of judgement, and we will be contacting both organisations imminently to express our regret for this unfortunate incident."

BrewDog was unsympathetic to the apology:

"As for Diageo, once you cut through the glam veneer of pseudo corporate responsibility this incident shows them to be a band of dishonest hammerheads and dumb a** corporate freaks.  No soul and no morals, with the integrity of a rabid dog and the style of a wart hog.

Discussion Starters: 

  • How do you asssess Diageo's response to the situation? What is missing from the company's response statement?
  • Identify the number of words in the quotes, above, that are uncommon in the United States. What do they mean?