Black and gold beer cans bad for UI?

University of Iowa officials want Anheuser-Busch to pull black-and-gold colored beer fans from shelves. UI President Sally Mason sent her official letter communicating her “extreme displeasure” to the beer company today. The letter was sent to Anheuser-Busch’s “vice president for corporate social responsibility,” which is a great job title. Iowa State University sent a similar letter this week. Here’s the text of Mason’s letter:


Dear Ms. Clark:

On behalf of The University of Iowa, I want to express our extreme displeasure with the black-and-gold-colored can promotion in our community and the surrounding area. We are concerned about the fact that this promotion appeals to students, many of whom are under the age of 21. We have for some time been very concerned about the serious issue of underage and binge drinking on this campus and nationwide. Your promotion is a step backward and will only serve to exacerbate this major student health and safety problem. We are very disappointed in your decision to use this marketing strategy.

The sale of black-and-gold-colored beer cans in this market is clearly an attempt on your part to create the impression that the University endorses or has acquiesced to your promotion of this product. Please understand clearly: We were never contacted about this promotion, and, if we had been, we would have registered our strong disapproval of the concept.

We join the Federal Trade Commission and our colleagues at the University of Wisconsin, University of Michigan, University of Colorado, Oklahoma State University, Texas A& M University, Boston College, and others, in registering our displeasure with this promotion. I would ask that you pull the black and gold cans from our marketplace immediately. We applaud your ongoing efforts that support responsible drinking. However, a promotion that encourages friends of institutions and fans of our athletics teams to buy beer that is marketed by using school colors is openly targeting our student population, many of whom are underage. I hope you will take this opportunity to right this wrong.


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