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SBD/Issue 236/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing
A-B Ends Some Bud Light "Fan Cans" Promotions Amid Complaints
Published August 26, 2009
|Wisconsin, Iowa State Among
Schools Objecting To Promo
CREATES A BAD ASSOCIATION: In Madison, Deborah Ziff reports an attorney for Univ. of Wisconsin last week sent a letter to A-B objecting to any effort to sell "Wisconsin beer cans adorned with the University of Wisconsin's red and white team colors." The school argued that the promotion would "create an association" between A-B and UW sports teams that does not exist. A-B promised to "end the 'Fan Cans' program in the area so as to avoid a dispute" with the school, but the brewer said that it "stands by its legal right to market Bud Light in cans with color combinations also used" by colleges (WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL, 8/26). A-B said that the cans "would not be distributed in the community," though it is unclear whether the community "meant Madison, Dane County or the state" (JSONLINE.com, 8/25). A-B has also pulled its Univ. of Minnesota-themed cans after UM News Service Dir Daniel Wolter said the school sent a letter claiming the promo "was an infringement of U of M trademarks and that we objected to it" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 8/26).
MORE OBJECTIONS COMING: Iowa State Univ. and Univ. of Iowa officials said that they will "write letters that object to the brewer's use of their school colors to sell cans of Bud Light." Retailers said that the "Fan Cans" have been a "hit among students" at the two schools (DES MOINES REGISTER, 8/26). Oklahoma State Univ. Dir of Communications Gary Shutt, whose school also protested the promo, said, "Color matters when it comes to marketing and packaging. People in Oklahoma connect OSU with orange" (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 8/26).
UPPING THE ANTE: BRAND REPUBLIC's Matt Williams reports A-B has named DDB as the "lead global ad agency for its Budweiser brand." DDB, whose Chicago office already handles Budweiser creative in the U.S., will be "responsible for helping to raise the popularity of the brand in markets where it holds a smaller presence, such as in mainland Europe and parts of Asia" (BRANDREPUBLIC.com, 8/26).