The recent displeasure expressed by the university’s administration over Anheuser-Busch’s marketing of purple and white Bud Light beer cans to students is warranted, but the fact remains that college-age people are going to drink it regardless of color or team affiliation.
The university makes a valid argument that it doesn’t want the visual connection between its team colors and alcohol, considering all of its connotations to binge drinking and alcoholism. After all, the university is supposed to be an institution based on education.
It isn’t alone in its opposition, either. So far 24 other universities have blocked the distribution of beer cans aimed at their students and other proud fans.
It’s no surprise that many college students drink, including those who are underage, but that doesn’t mean stopping the marketing of alcohol to minors is going to affect other influences like peer pressure. The Federal Trade Commission’s recommendation that the corporations follow self-imposed regulations on marketing to underage audiences is well-intentioned, but for as much responsibility the companies have over their products, the consumer has as much if not more.
As much as it might be a selling point for Anheuser-Busch, the local team pride marketing angle and the color of the cans won’t make up students’ minds for them on whether to engage in underage drinking. That decision ultimately lies in the hands of consumers, who will choose whether they can drink responsibly and let those who are underage look for another kind of purple beverage.
Multimedia editor Chance Welch for the editorial board.