No, Heineken did not knowingly sponsor the event, and has made a public response:
Images continue to circulate in social media channels showing a dog fight, with Heineken® banners clearly visible in the background. This is very distressing and totally unacceptable. As a company and a brand owner, we do not and would never knowingly support any event, outlet or individual involved in this type of activity. It is against our company and brand rules and - more important - against our company values.
Since this matter was brought to our attention via Facebook we have conducted an investigation and now know that:
- The venue is a nightclub in Mongolia
- The venue hosted a dog fight of which we had no knowledge and were not involved in any way
- The venue owner has verbally confirmed that Heineken® banners are visible in the pictures because the previous evening the club had been decorated for a promotional event and he had failed to remove the banners once it was over. This event was in no way related to the dog fight
Based on this we have taken the following immediate actions:
- Removed all remaining promotional materials from the venue
- Withdrawn all current product stock from the club
- Ceased our relationship, ensuring our brands will not be available in the club again
- Instructed our distributor to check every location where our brands can be enjoyed to ensure such illegal activities are not taking place. If there is any suggestion that they are, we will take the same action and remove our products
- Continue to ensure our strict advertising and promotion guidelines are enforced both to the letter and the spirit of their intent
We want to thank our consumers on-line for bringing this issue to our attention. We are shocked and disappointed by these images. We fully understand the level of negative feeling amongst consumers based on what they have seen. We appreciate that the vast majority have asked for our point of view before making a judgment. We encourage our consumers to continue to use social media channels to alert us to any situation where they feel our brands are being misrepresented, so that we can take the appropriate actions.
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The company has also posted the original letter of confirmation from the venue owner.