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Monday, August 31, 2009

Real Men of Genius: Mizzou Chancellor Kindly Requests A-B to Quit Selling Bud Light in Black and Gold Cans

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 2:05 PM

Add Mizzou to the list of schools that fail to see the "genius" of the Bud Light Fan Can. Chancellor Brady Deaton has officially registered his disapproval.

As Chad reported last week, Fan Cans,  A-B's latest ad campaign for the fall, involves selling cans of Bud-Light decorated with stripes in various color combinations which, curiously, recall the colors of college football teams, though no names or logos appear.

Strangely enough, many of the administrators of colleges whose colors were used in the promotion were not amused. Could it have anything to do with the fact that the vast majority of college students are under 21 and, therefore, not legally allowed to drink? Why yes, it could!

A-B created Fan Cans for 27 schools, though none gave their express permission. So far 25 have objected. Last week it was unclear whether the University of Missouri at Columbia was among them. After all, in addition to being neighbors, of sorts, A-B donated $1.5 million to construct what is now known as the Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Building.

But now Tigers take note: There will not be beer floats at this Friday's college colors ice cream social, at least not ones made with Bud Light from black-and-gold cans.

Here's an excerpt from the letter Deaton wrote to A-B last Friday and then released to the public:
This is completely unacceptable and conveys the impression to the consumer that the University of Missouri is somehow supportive of this marketing effort for black and gold cans that were, in fact, never approved by MU. I ask that Anheuser-Busch immediately take action to terminate this marketing practice, which is now infringing upon the university's identity and reputation.
Many stores, Deaton noted, have placed the black and gold Fan Cans beside official (and officially licensed) Mizzou merchandise.

In addition, representatives of the Federal Trade Commission have spoken to A-B, although FTC officials remain cagey about whether an actual investigation is in progress. FTC regulations require that 70 percent of the audience for an alcoholic beverage be over 21, which, Janet Evans, the FTC attorney responsible for alcohol marketing issues, doesn't believe is the case for 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," she told Associated Press, "and in addition, you've got a population that engages almost exclusively in binge drinking."

Other schools that have objected include Boston College, the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the University of Colorado at Boulder, though Colorado's objection is at least as much concern for jeopardizing the school's relationship with Miller-Coors as it is about preventing underage drinking.

Despite the unpopularity with colleges, the Bud Light Tailgate website is still up, and you can still vote for your favorite color combination (provided you remember to give your birth year as anything before 1988). Black and gold has garnered an impressive 7 percent of the vote, behind only maroon and white.

Go Ti- um, black and gold!

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