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Bud Pong promo canned after youth drinking reports

October 18, 2005

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. on Tuesday
dropped a popular drinking game promotion, saying under-age
drinkers were imbibing beer during the interactive game instead
of water as originally intended.

The No. 1 U.S. brewer has been promoting Bud Pong
competitions since July, supplying tables, balls and glasses to
wholesalers across the United States.

Players on one team try to sink a ball into another team’s
liquid-filled cups. If successful, the opposing team must
drink. Promotion guidelines specify the use of water in the
cups, not beer, Anheuser-Busch said.

In a statement, the maker of Budweiser said that “it has
come to our attention that despite our explicit guidelines,
there may have been instances where this promotion was not
carried out in the manner it was intended.”

The announcement to drop Bud Pong comes two days after a
front-page article in The New York Times described college
students enjoying the popular game in bars and off-campus
housing. In the article, Anheuser-Busch spokeswoman Francine
Katz said the company may soon expand Bud Pong into more
markets because of its popularity.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Katz said “as a company
that has invested more than $500 million to promote responsible
consumption among adults and to discourage abuse, we believe it
is important that our intentions with Bud Pong not be
misperceived.”

Chuck Hurley, chief executive of Mothers Against Drunk
Driving, called the beer company’s quick turn-around “pretty
amazing.”

“Their withdrawal of the Bud Pong promotion would be more
impressive if it hadn’t followed the bad press they received
for this irresponsible marketing promotion,” Hurley told
Reuters.




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