Guinness UDV was forced to ditch a St Patrick’s Day pub promotion after Irish lobby groups accused the company of insulting Irish culture.
The row erupted last month after Irish publicans in the UK received a kit from the brewery containing pairs of green feet displaying a pint of Guinness with the letters L and R to lead drinkers to the bar.
The pack was part of the &£2.2m “Party like the Irish” marketing campaign launched by Guinness in February for the St Patrick’s Day celebrations on March 17.
Michael Forde, chairman of the Manchester Irish World Heritage Centre, claims Irish people were offended by the promotion because it implied they are not able to tell the difference between left and right.
Forde claims Guinness drinkers at his centre were so angry that they shunned the stout – with 85 per cent of them boycotting it in one week alone.
He says: “This is pandering to a stereotype that says Irish people are drunken and stupid. It is totally insensitive; we have spent years campaigning against this sort of thing.”
London Irish Centre director Father Jerry Kivlehan says the promotion was offensive as it portrayed the Irish as drunks.
Brands PR manager Elizabeth Younge wrote to Forde, pledging to withdraw the campaign.
She says: “Michael Forde took offence to this and we decided to pull it because we don’t want to alienate the Irish.
“The campaign was supposed to point out the fun-loving and warm nature of the Irish.”