There’s a certain art to apologizing with grace, but is there an art to the non-apology?
Scottish beer brewer BrewDog certainly tried to elevate the non-apology to an art form this week with a blog post
aimed at the U.K. industry standards coalition called the Portman Group, which rejected one of BrewDog’s ales because of packaging that encouraged “antisocial behavior and binge drinking,” according to Mashable
The post, which is simply titled with the hashtag “#SorryNotSorry,” comes out of the gate swinging:
On behalf of BrewDog PLC and its 14,691 individual shareholders, I would like to issue a formal apology to the Portman Group for not giving a s**t about today’s ruling. Indeed, we are sorry for never giving a s**t about anything the Portman Group has to say, and treating all of its statements with callous indifference and nonchalance.
The post goes on to call the Portman Group “a gloomy gaggle of killjoy jobsworths, funded by navel-gazing international drinks giants.” It also reveals one of the specific phrases that the Portman Group had objections to: “rip it up down the empty streets.”
The post questions the objection with a semantic argument:
Can you please explain how something can be "anti-social" if the streets are empty? Anti-social is defined as “contrary to the laws and customs of society, in a way that causes annoyance and disapproval in others.” If the streets are empty, there are no “others” to annoy.
The Portman Group does not appear to have issued a response to BrewDog’s open letter. Indeed, the group’s most recent tweet
is about BrewDog’s ale, Dead Pony Club, breaching the marketing code. Many of the responses to that tweet support BrewDog and criticize Portman.
BrewDog’s post has drawn dozens of comments, nearly all of them supportive. Quite a few are from people who have never tried the company’s brews but say they will do so now.
[CONFERENCE: Corporate Communicators Conference. June 9-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.]
Maybe there really is an art to the non-apology.