Heineken nativity ad axed after protests

Whitbread Beer Company has pulled its controversial nativity scene poster for Heineken following complaints from the Church and members of the public.

Whitbread Beer Company has pulled its controversial nativity scene

poster for Heineken following complaints from the Church and members of

the public.

At the same time, the marketer responsible for the advertising, Phil

Rumbol, has been appointed to a new role within the company, handling

sponsorship and PR.

A company spokeswoman said the two events were unrelated, and that

Rumbol’s move was announced internally a month ago.

The ad, which features a twist on the nativity scene with Joseph

proclaiming ’It’s a girl’, outraged churchgoers and prompted Whitbread

to commission new research. This showed that 10% of people were offended

by the ad, with 70% understanding why others would be offended.

Whitbread has apologised and is withdrawing the ad.

Rumbol, previously marketing manager for Heineken, takes on the role of

director of brand communications. He will be responsible for new

initiatives which fall outside traditional advertising.

Rumbol’s replacement is Rachel Johnson, currently marketing controller

for Horlicks at SmithKline Beecham.

The changes complete a restructure of Whitbread’s marketing


Last month it appointed Stewart Gilliland as its new marketing and sales


Gilliland replaced John Derkach who became managing director of


In October, Tracey Darwen, marketing controller for Stella Artois left

Whitbread and was replaced by Boddingtons’ marketing manager, Stuart

McFarlane. McFarlane was in turn replaced by Kathryn McNamara.


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