You've Heard of 'Bad Santa'? How About 'Terrible Santa'?

And Mac's Labatt ad suggests leaving St. Nick a beer instead of milk and cookies

LAS VEGAS -- Taking a page in name only from the 2003 movie Bad Santa, a Las Vegas-based gas station and car wash company is hosting a visit from a "Terrible" Santa to help open its newest location. Santa will officially open the new Terrible Herbst Inc. location on December 19. Located in northwest Las Vegas at I-215, the valley's newest Terrible's is a complete convenience destination with gas station, convenience store, lube center and car wash.

Santa is declaring December 19 as a "Great day to be Terrible," and will be inside Terrible's taking free photos "with [image-nocss] all the Terrible boys and girls on his list," the company said. Also part of the celebration are free $5 Chevron gift cards for the first 300 people, free hot chocolate and Hershey's candy treats, and a special $12.19 oil change deal.

Separately, a Labatt beer ad that said, "Leave one out for Santa. He's driving," and shows a bottle of Labatt's Blue nonalcoholic beer, made its debut at 45 Mac's Convenience Stores in November and will run until the end of December, reported The Toronto Sun.

But some consumers say it sends the wrong message. "I don't think that's quite appropriate," Kathleen Clifford, 65, told the newspaper. "Children see that and they think we'd better leave beer for Santa instead of cookies and milk." she said. "I have grandchildren and great-grandchildren and I don't approve of it. Maybe I'm an old fuddy-duddy."

But Labatt said the message is to remind people not to drink and drive. "It's reminding people, especially during this holiday season, when people are going out to celebrate, not to drink and drive," Catherine Pringle, corporate affairs manager of Labatt Breweries of Canada, told the paper. "Some of the posters direct people to makingaplan.ca, which is a website to plan ahead and reinforcing people not to drink and drive," she said.

Mothers Against Drinking & Driving said it has no problem with it because it is alcohol-free beer (it actually contains "0.5% or less"). "This is not drinking and driving. It's a Labatt issue and whatever their philosophy is behind the ad is certainly up to them," MADD Canada president Margaret Miller told the Sun.

But Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at the Schulich School of Business at York University said the ad breaks the "golden rule" to never associate drinking with driving in a sales pitch. "They're positioning that you can have a beer and you're still safe to drive, but they can't control how many of those 0.5% beers people consume," Middleton told the paper. "They thought being this lower alcohol would get them off the hook, but I don't think it does. This is a silly ad and if they've got a decent product, it should be powerful enough."