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Controversy brews over beer cans in school colors

Posted August 31, 2009
Updated September 1, 2009

Anheuser-Busch is marketing Bud Light beer in cans that mimic the school colors of various colleges nationwide, such as the red and black of N.C. State.
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— A new marketing campaign from Budweiser has generated an outcry from college officials nationwide.

The so-called "fan cans" package Bud Light beer in cans that mimic school colors for many campuses. Red-and-black cans of beer can be found in convenience stores near the North Carolina State University campus, for example, while purple-and-gold cans are  sold in Greenville near East Carolina University.

Bud Light fan can Colleges ask for colored beer cans to be pulled

The campaign is gearing up just as football season and tailgating start.

"I drink Coors Light , but now that we've got red-and-black cans on the Bud Light, I'm going to drink Bud Light for the whole tailgate season," N.C. State student Clark Stephenson said.

The Federal Trade Commission has criticized the Bud Light campaign, and more than two dozen universities have asked Anheuser-Busch Inc. to pull the fan cans from their areas, saying they don't want to encourage excessive or underage drinking.

Dick Christie, N.C. State associate athletic director, said the university has joined other members of the Atlantic Coast Conference in a formal letter to Anheuser-Busch requesting that the fan cans not be marketed near ACC campuses.

Carol Clark, vice president of corporate social responsibility for the brewer, said in a statement that beer distributors aren't required to stock stores with the colored cans. About half of Anheuser-Busch's wholesalers are participating in the fan can marketing program, she said.

"We place great value in the relationships we’ve built with college administrators and campus communities across the country. Certain cans are not being made available in communities where organizations had asked us not to offer them," Clark said.

"Anheuser-Busch has a longstanding commitment to promoting responsible drinking," she said. "Our company’s position on college drinking is clear: If students are 21 or older and choose to drink, we want them to do so responsibly. If they are under 21, we want them to respect the law and not drink."

The Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, said his group is encouraging parents to lobby university administrators nationwide to file complaints with Anheuser-Busch, with the goal of getting the colored Bud Light cans pulled off store shelves everywhere.

Some N.C. State students said they don't think the color of beer cans will encourage more drinking.

"Kids are going to drink regardless. We always have, and we always will," Stephenson said.

35 Comments

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  • ICTrue Sep 1, 2009

    nufsaid...you are right.

    well in the words of Rosanne Rosannadana....nevermind

  • nufsaid Sep 1, 2009

    Anyone else notice that the cans in the picture aren't even NC State red? Much ado about nothing.

  • nufsaid Sep 1, 2009

    Actually the official colors for NCSU are red and white.

  • See Chart Sep 1, 2009

    Bud is now owned by the Dutch.
    I liked it better when it was American owned.
    They have to make this stuff more look like soda pop
    to make a buck,I guess.

  • Professor Sep 1, 2009

    sent packing to the unemployment line. Give me a break.
    smbiz

    Thank for the comment. There are more issues than the color of alcohol and beer cans. How about jobs in NC? Now that is a subject that should be #1 in NC.

  • ICTrue Sep 1, 2009

    Any college officials that have time to waste on somthing this stupid need to be moved to the top Bowels list and sent packing to the unemployment line. Give me a break.

  • foetine Sep 1, 2009

    you can buy NC State beer mugs and shot glasses at the student store,

    nc state isn't the only red and black team in town. those could be Hurricane beers

  • Professor Sep 1, 2009

    i don't think the color of cans will make a difference. Teach the kids responsibility & not to get drunk!
    nod2004

    Worth repeating! I wonder how many parents know their kid is drinking alcohol beverages including beer in the dorms and at bars. They also have false ID's. Did you know that parents? No, not until you get the phone call.

  • TomIn Ral Sep 1, 2009

    It's all about money under the guise of being PC. Since the universities can't get $$$ for licensing the colors to Anheuser-Busch, they'll play to those folks who think we should have never repealed the 18th amendment.

  • Professor Sep 1, 2009

    They said the same thing about cigarettes, but it sure has not stop the young kids from smoking. Even raising the taxes on a pack did not stop these kids. You see the underage smoking and drinking all the time. It shows the kind of "parents" that are raising them. If people want to do something, nothing is going to change that.

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