By Josh Wingrove
Associate News Editor
New beer ads sprayed on Ram walls bring in revenue and create more atmosphere, SCC manager says.
As the Ram in the Rye adds more and more corporate advertising, some are left wondering if the new look is befitting of a campus pub.
The newest addition to the walls of the Ram is a Coors Light ad and Ram logo on the south-east wall near the entrance. It joins a Molson Canadian mural opposite the bar — also featuring a Ram’s head — as well as Canadian pennants hanging from the roof and Jägermeister banners along the bar.
The ads are one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways of encouraging a campus pub feeling at the Ram, said Ryerson Student Campus Centre general manager Rob Emerson.
“It’s the easiest, cheapest way to cover up some of the walls,” he said, adding the Ram had approached Sports and Recreation for memorabilia, but couldn’t work anything out. Theft from the walls was also a concern.
Some of the Ram employees had problems with the deals. Arron Gibson, a former image arts student and former Ram bartender, quit recently to pursue his media production business. While he insists he didn’t quit because of the advertising, he said he was disappointed that the Ram, a not-for-profit pub and the only place on campus where food is sold outside of Aramark, is operating with only the bottom line in mind.
“There are a lot of things they could do to pursue a more socially responsibly business model, and I don’t think they have any interest in pursuing that,” Gibson said.
“They’re content to just run it as a Molson-sponsored bar.”
He said his first priority is the well-being of the Ram itself, advertising is not necessarily the be all and end all.
“For the record, I hate almost all advertising, but I’m a litle bit of an extremist,” he added.
Ram staff weren’t allowed to speak with The Eyeopener, but duty manager Ryan McCullough said no staff — even Gibson — had brought their concerns to him.
“For the most part, our staff has said it’s really cool. It’s done in more of an urban, tagging style,” McCullough said.
“It’s not you dad’s Coors Light ad,” he added.
While product advertising is nothing new for campus pubs, the murals are unique in their size.
Madison Avenue Pub, a popular spot among students in the University of Toronto area, has cardboard ads on tables, a Molson awning and New Ad Media ads in the washrooms.
The Brunswick House, another U of T-area pub, has just neon signs and table advertising.
“We don’t want to take away from the atmosphere… We have different promotions for beer companies on certain nights, but we don’t have any murals,” manager Aidan Doyle said.
The ads are an extremely effective tool in combination with the table ads and other promotions, said Andrij Brygidyr, president of A&A Merchandising Limited.
“The reason why people do this, for them and the alcohol group and pretty much everyone, is about 65 per cent of all purchasing decisions are made at store level… you can be easily persuaded to buy something else,” Brygidyr said.
Advertising is “kind of an old story,” he added.
“If it’s not hanging on the wall, it could very well be on the table or behind the bar… if you have some values against this, then you shouldn’t work there,” Brygidyr said.
The mural is a permanent static ad in the middle of one of the Ram’s highest-traffic areas. The repeated exposure will likely lead to higher Coors sales on campus, as any advertising is meant to do, said Sergio Meza, a lecturer with the U of T’s Rotman School of Business.
“If it is in a place where you’re eating, when you’re having time to look at it, it could be very effective,” he said.