Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Anheuser-Busch to drop U-M beer can campaign

After multiple discussions with U-M attorneys, Anheuser-Busch has decided to suspend a planned campaign that would have featured maize and blue beer cans throughout the state of Michigan.

The marketing campaign, which includes beer cans sporting team colors from universities nationwide, has prompted complaints from at least 25 schools, according to the Wall Street Journal. Many schools are concerned with the campaign promoting underage and binge drinking, and don’t want to appear as if they endorse the product.

“The university strongly objected to Anheuser-Busch Team Pride-Made for Gameday campaign,” says U-M spokesperson Kelly Cunningham. “We were concerned that our name would be associated with an alcoholic beverage. The university has a strict policy of not permitting our name or logo on anything that promotes the use of alcohol. It could have been very confusing to our all of our fans, student and non-student alike.”

After learning about the campaign, on July 22 U-M attorneys sent Anheuser-Busch a letter outlining concerns and asking the company not to distribute the beer cans, Cunningham says. After exchanging correspondence several times, Anheuser-Busch on Aug. 19 sent the university a letter stating it dropped plans for the maize and blue beer can sales in Michigan.