Colleges To Budweiser: Don’t Show Us Your Cans!

If the the earth was struck tomorrow by a giant meteor and the only liquids that survived the fiery ball of doom were Bud Light and some rancid pond water from the Everglades, I think I’d choose … um, exactly how many snakes are in that pond water? Realizing this, Anheuser-Busch has come up with a relatively new promotion to boost sales, marketing Bud Light cans in the colors of college teams.

For example, people buying Budweiser in or around the University of Colorado would find the product in black-and-gold cans. The University of Wisconsin, red and white. The University of Arizona, Captain Morgan in a brown paper sack. The usual. Bud is calling them Fan Cans. But the universities themselves are not amused.

The industry’s regulations require at least 70 percent of an advertisement’s audience to be above 21, and Janet Evans, a senior attorney at the FTC responsible for alcohol marketing issues, said that doesn’t happen on college campuses.

“When you’ve got a college campus audience you’ve got a very large number of persons who are below the legal drinking age there, and in addition, you’ve got a population that engages almost exclusively in binge drinking,” Evans said.

She said the FTC could neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation, though she did say she was certain Anheuser-Busch would not repeat this effort in the future.

“Certain cans are not being made available in communities where organizations asked us not to offer them,” said Carol Clark, Anheuser-Busch vice president for corporate social responsibility.

In other news, Anheuser-Busch has a vice president for corporate social responsibility.

Many colleges and universities have fought back, claiming that the promotion encourages underage drinking and infringes on school trademarks. The University of Minnesota contacted Anheuser-Busch and got the cans removed from the Minneapolis-St. Paul region.

Other schools have followed suit, among them Boston College, Wisconsin, Texas A&M, and in fact Budweiser has pulled the promotion from all areas where there have beenĀ  objections. What’s going to happen to all that beer, I wonder?

I also wonder how much of these objections are based on fear of underage drinking, and how much on fear of treading on deals with other brewers?

The University of Colorado at Boulder objected not only because of concerns about protecting its trademarks but also worries that the effort could jeopardize its relationship with MillerCoors, spokesman Bronson Hilliard said. Coors Brewing Co., half of MillerCoors, is based in nearby Denver.

Because fish gotta swim, college kids gotta drink, I guess. Just not in school colors.