Beer In Ads #1089: When You’re Out Of Schlitz, Punt.


Saturday’s ad, to get your ready for tomorrow’s Super Bowl, is for Schlitz, from 1969. It’s a funny one. Showing an upside down can of Schlitz held up by a finger, ready for the kick … wait a minute. What’s wrong with this picture? How did this get published? Figure it out yet? Somebody at the ad agency must have known something about football, or maybe not. Check the headline again. “When You’re Out Of Schlitz, Punt.” Whoops. Hilarious.

Schlitz-1969-punt

As You Watch The Big Game Sunday, Ignore This

pinocchio
Never one to pass up an opportunity to proselytize, Alcohol Justice’s annual Superb Owl press release, Big Alcohol’s Big Game Plan is another excellent example of hypocrisy in action. What does Big Alcohol’s “game plan” consist of? Why patent lies, of course, that is completely obvious lies. We’re always lying, apparently, whereas the Watchdog Sheriff of Alcohol always tells the truth.

Our main lie, this time, is that the alcohol industry maintains “that there is no evidence that exposure to alcohol ads encourages underage consumption or harmful over-consumption among adults.” Of course, there is an annual report that has for years shown that advertising is the least influential factor for underage drinking, and has been dropping since they started doing the survey in 1991. According to GfK Roper Youth Report Examines Influences on Youth Decisions about Drinking, advertising accounts for 1% of youth drinking influence. So while I don’t think anyone is arguing advertising has no influence over anything, it’s very small, and kids see ads for things adults buy all the time for the simple reason that they’re in the world. I saw beer ads as a kid. I also saw cigarette ads, and yet I’ve never smoked them.

As for adults, alcohol is legal, advertising is legal, if people over-consume it that’s their business. Why can’t people use the occasion of one of the biggest sporting events of the year to relax and celebrate, sharing a few beers with friends and family? As long as they’re not doing something illegal or obnoxious, that should be nobody’s business. This is certainly a topic for debate, the amount of influence, etc. but as I’ve written before, as long as AJ keeps calling everyone in the alcohol industry a liar, any meaningful dialogue seems fairly inconceivable, but then I don’t think they have any interest in actually having a discussion or finding any workable solutions. They just want to bash the industry and collect donations because they think we account for all the evil in the world.

But the most interesting part of this particular propaganda piece is the section entitled “As You Watch The Big Game Sunday, Think About This.” Here’s the first thing they want us to think about:

Driven by Big Alcohol advertising, branding, sponsorship and celebrity endorsements, America consumes an estimated 325 million gallons of beer on the day of the big game, so alcohol-related harm is inevitable.

325 million gallons? There are approximately 314 million people in the U.S. That means every man, woman and child drinks 1.035 gallons of beer, or about 11 12-oz. bottles of beer in four hours, a figure that represents 5% of total annual beer production. Does that sound even remotely reasonable? That figure fooled me last year when a website listed it and I re-posted it. But I later took a closer look at it and discovered that it came from — shock — Alcohol Justice, who as far as I could tell just made it up. Because as I wrote in Hoodwinked By Propaganda, that number just doesn’t add up. A more reliable figure is around 50 million cases of beer are purchased for the Sunday of the game, probably not all on that day, but in the week leading up to it. That’s around 112.5 million gallons, or roughly one-third of AJ’s number. Talk about inflation. And that’s purchased, not all of that beer is consumed that one day, either.

And “inevitable?” “Alcohol-related harm is inevitable?” Remember that the amount AJ insists is consumed is wrong, a patent lie. But regardless of the amount, whenever people drink it’s not inevitable that harm will follow. It’s not even likely. I’ve consumed my fare share of beer during, well, every single Super Bowl since around 1980. Guess how many times I’ve experienced the supposedly inevitable alcohol-related harm? That would be a grand total of zero times. Will some people act stupidly and make fools of themselves? Of course they will. But that has more to do with the law of large numbers than alcohol. But if 1,000 people drink and one person does something stupid, does that invalidate the other 999? Apparently in AJ’s mind it does, they seem to find anything short of perfection unacceptable. But I’d like to know what other human pursuit is held to such a standard. Certainly gun-related accidents account for some of the annual death toll in America. But I don’t see anyone rushing to ban all guns until we achieve perfection in gun safety. It’s absurd to think that accidents or stupidly won’t happen, if for no other reason than we’re imperfect, fallible humans. But it’s even more absurd to think that any attempts to stop all of them, usually by punishing the majority of people who are blameless and have done nothing wrong, can ever be 100% effective, or frankly even marginally effective.

“It is estimated that about 20 to 30 million kids will tune in to watch [the Super Bowl] on TV and online. As usual, they will be saturated once again with seductive beer ads.”

Saturated? Saturated is defined as “completely filled with something.” Anheuser-Busch InBev is running five spots during the game, for a grand total of four minutes. According to AdAge’s list of Super Bowl advertisers, MillerCoors won’t have any ads in this year’s broadcast. The Super Bowl is scheduled to be aired over four hours, or 240 minutes. Kids, if they’re even paying attention, will see at most four minutes of beer advertisements in four hours. That’s 1.66% of the game’s broadcast time. So the beer industry is a bunch of liars, but 4 minutes out of 4 hours is saturation. That’s what passes for truthfulness?

Two of smartest [sic], most popular TV personalities in the country also believe that there’s something wrong with mixing alcohol and sports. Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show” recently skewered booze-swilling pot critics http://bit.ly/1c0evqa and questioned excessive beer ads on TV sports. While Steven Colbert on “The Colbert Report” commented on lucrative NFL sponsorships and Peyton Manning’s recent “shout-out” for Bud Light http://bit.ly/1dBo0kz “What’s weighing on my mind is how soon I can get a Bud Light in my mouth after this win. That’s priority number 1,” stated Manning.

You do understand that those are comedy shows? They’re not hard news. I love both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s shows, but they mine the news for comedy gold, and make fun of it wherever they find it. They’re really good at it, so good in fact that you thought they were seriously taking your side and promoting your position? Wow, how sad.

Alcohol ads, sponsorships, and celebrity endorsements associated with sports are disturbing not just because they are designed to lure young people to take that first drink but because as Kerry O’Brien said “…they also
cleverly create a culture where kids perceive alcohol consumption as a normal everyday part of life.

Designed to lure young people to take that first drink? Really? Can you honestly believe that celebrity endorsements only sway kids, that adults are immune to them and not their main target? Alcohol advertising is aimed squarely at adults, the people legally allowed to purchase and consume it. That’s who they’re designed to “lure.” You do understand that the purpose of advertising is to produce a result, like when you run ads endlessly begging for donations. It would be completely bad economics to target persons who are prohibited from buying the advertised products and, in most cases, have little or no money to buy them.

Alcohol consumption as a normal everyday part of life? There’s nothing clever about that, alcohol consumption is perfectly legal, and apart from those surreally ineffective thirteen years last century, it always has been. It is a normal part of everyday life. AJ may not like that fact, but that changes nothing. It’s not clever, creative advertising that give people that perception that “alcohol consumption [is] a normal everyday part of life,” it’s reality.

What I continue to find incredibly insulting about AJ’s propaganda is their insistence that they’re the honest ones and we’re all a bunch of liars. And yet they take huge liberties with the truth constantly. But what’s also annoying is the idea that adults can’t do anything adult if there are children present. Seeing a beer ad during a football game with adults present, to explain the context, etc., is exactly how they should see them. AJ seems worried that 20 to 30 million kids will watch the Super Bowl, but I have to question that figure, too. The most Americans who watched the Super Bowl was 111.3 million people for the 2011 contest, with 111 million the year before. Even at 20 million, that would mean about 18% of viewers were children, or almost 1 in 5. At 30 million, it would be 27%, just over one-quarter of viewers. Nielsen puts the percentage of kids at 16% or around 18 million.

But does the number really matter that much? These kids will undoubtedly be with their families. I doubt many, or any, of them will be watching the Super Bowl by themselves. You’d think that any event that brings families together would be something to celebrate: families spending time together is good thing, isn’t it? But apparently that’s not how AJ sees it. So I have to ask: what would AJ prefer? Should the kids be sent away? Should society set up day camps all over the country where kids can be sent to so they can be shielded from seeing those four minutes worth of beer ads during the game? Separated from their families for an adults-only game? Maybe they think that having kids means you no longer should be permitted to enjoy adult pursuits. Being a parent means giving up every aspect of your own life for your kids, the two worlds can never meet. That seems reasonable, doesn’t it?

Or would they prefer we just do away with all sporting events entirely, instead having us all stay home and play Chutes and Ladders or Candyland until our kids go off to college or are on their own, no longer living at home. At that point, and that point only, will it be safe once more to turn on the TV set and watch a football game. Seriously, what exactly would satisfy Alcohol Justice? What is their goal here? What would a reasonable outcome that satisfies their fanaticism look like? We know they want all alcohol advertising removed from sports. But adults can, and do, enjoy a beer while watching sports. It’s still legal, despite the prohibitionists efforts to limit it as much as possible. And while kids do watch sports, it’s adults who constitute the vast majority of its audience. Is it really reasonable to ban something perfectly legal for a majority of the population because kids can see it. The strategy is that by saying that the alcohol is causing harm, it should be banned the same way we banned tobacco ads and smoking in most public places. But smoke was uncontrollable and could do actual harm. Alcohol doesn’t do any harm, it’s action neutral. People abusing it might, but that’s entirely different. Unless you’re blinded by ideology, you get that some people can abuse alcohol but most people don’t. The outcome is up to the individual, so that’s the variable; it’s not the alcohol that’s doing any harm, no more so than too much red meat can effect your heart or too much sugar can rot your teeth.

We can’t, and shouldn’t, create two separate worlds where one is adults only, a place where we can’t take the kids … ever, and a separate kid’s world where kids are forever sheltered from the adult world until that magic day when they turn eighteen and we throw them into the deep end to fend for themselves, completely unprepared. Actually, we’ll need three worlds. We’ll need an extra, separate adult world that still is void of alcohol, since adults ages 18-20 aren’t allowed to drink yet. Because nothing less will satisfy Alcohol Justice. It doesn’t matter that it’s utterly unrealistic.

So watch the Super Bowl tomorrow, if you want. Ignore all of this. Have a good time, with your wife/husband and kids, if you have any, along with any other family and friends you wish. Enjoy a beer or two, or more. You’re an adult, do what the hell you want.

drink-beer-and-watch-football

UPDATE: OMG Facts tweeted during the Super Bowl that the average American drinks 4 beers over the course of the day of the game. That figure works out to be 117,750,000 gallons, just over one-third (36%) of the 325 million figure that Alcohol Justice is spreading in their propaganda. Seeming more and more like a patent lie to me all the time.

Your Father’s Beer

bud-light
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning famously said a couple of weeks ago after his victory over the Chargers that all he could think of was how soon he could “get a Bud Light in [his] mouth.” It seemed like a slap in the face to pick Budweiser while being the QB in the land of Rocky Mountain spring water-made Coors. Not to mention that Colorado is one of the best beer states in America, so it’s no surprise that a number of smaller craft breweries also called him out for his choice of frosty beverage. But in subsequent interviews, Manning’s stuck to his guns, succinctly explaining the reason for his beer preference.

“My father taught me a number of things, one of which being that Bud Light is the preferred beer of the Manning household”

My only question is this. Peyton Manning is 37 years old. He’s also married with two children, and presumably no longer lives at home but has his own household. At what age did you stop doing everything your father told you? It may be true, but it seems like a bit of a cop out. I thought it was more common to eschew your father’s beer and make your own choices.

I remember a particularly enlightening conversation I eavesdropped on at GABF a number of years ago. I was walking the hall, in a hurry on my way to somewhere, when a group of at least half-a-dozen young men, presumably in their early twenties, blocked my path and forced me to slow up behind them. From just behind their slow-walking row, I could hear what they were saying as we ambled past the Sierra Nevada Brewing booth. One of the them elbowed his friend, and pointing his head toward Sierra Nevada’s booth, remarked. “Sierra Nevada; my Dad really likes that beer.” He put the emphasis on “Dad” when he said it, indicating that it wasn’t necessarily a good thing. I remembered that a while later when I was having dinner and some drinks with Ken and Brian Grossman, and mentioned what I’d overheard. They said they were fully aware of that as a growing problem, having been around long enough that they were becoming the new generation’s Dad’s beer. It’s part of the reason they began doing so many more collaborations, specialty releases and even beer camp. It’s an interesting facet of the craft beer industry as it grows and matures. How do you maintain your image while also remaining fresh to newer, younger customers? Because nobody wants to drink the same beer as their father. I know I didn’t, and don’t.

I know none of this matters and everyone is free to drink whatever the hell they want. Still, I find it fascinating to watch how certain statements play out in the media. Had Manning picked a Coors product, he would have pleased the hometown fans. Had he picked a craft beer, especially a local one, he would have made the hometown fans, and many good beer lovers, overjoyed. Instead he picked Bud Light, coincidentally the “official beer of the NFL,” so most likely the group he pleased the most was the league.

pfm-shirt

Last fall, Manning apparently bought twenty-one Papa John’s Pizza franchises, all in Colorado. I wonder what beers they serve?

manning-papa-johns

NFL Football: Pick The Winners At Brookston Fantasy Games 2013

football
This is the seventh year for the Brookston Fantasy Football Games. We’ve had a lot of fun over the last six, so if you love football and beer, consider joining us this year, whether you’ve played in past seasons or are a newcomer. The NFL season begins on Thursday September 5, so you’ve got about two and change days to sign up.

I’ve again set up two free Yahoo fantasy football games, one a simple pick ‘em game and the other a survival pool. Up to 50 people can play each game (that’s Yahoo’s limit, not mine), so if you’re a regular Bulletin reader feel free to sign up for one or even both. It’s free to play, all you need is a Yahoo ID, which is also free. Below is a description of each game and the details on how to join each league and play.


nfl-teams

Pro Football Pick’em

In this Pick’em game, just pick the winner for every game each week, with no spread, and let’s see who gets the most correct throughout the season. I’ve kept the new wrinkle I added last year. Since we’re all very busy, and you (or I) might screw up at least one week, you can still throw out your lowest week. All that’s at stake is bragging rights, but it’s still great fun.

Also, like last year, we’ll be able to keep picking all through the playoffs, so the game will continue through to the Super Bowl, which is pretty cool.

In order to join the group, just go to Pro Football Pick’em, click the “Sign Up” button (or “Create or Join Group” if you are a returning user). From there, follow the path to join an existing private group and when prompted, enter the following information…

Group ID#: 49449 (Brookston NFL Pick To Win)
Password: brookston


packers-retro

Survival Football

If picking all sixteen football games every week seems like too much, then Survival Football is for you. In Survival Football, you only have to pick one game each week. The only catch is you can’t pick the same team to win more than once all season. And you better be sure about each game you pick because if you’re wrong, you’re out for the season. Actually last year they added a new feature and I changed the game so to be kicked out you have to be wrong twice. In that way more people stand a better chance of lasting longer into the season. So get one wrong, and you’re still okay, get a second wrong, now you’re gone for the season. Last man standing wins.

Again, like last year, we can keep picking all through the playoffs, assuming our luck holds. So the game could even continue through to the Super Bowl.

In order to join the group, just go to Survival Football, click the “Sign Up” button and choose to “Join an Existing Group”, then “Join a Private Group”. Then, when prompted, enter the following information…

Group ID#: 23412 (Brookston Survival League)
Password: brookston

With 50 players allowed in each game, there’s plenty of room, so don’t be shy. Sign up for one or both games. IN past seasons, I’ve posted the standings on the home page, and hopefully I’ll be able to do that again soon. Why not join us?

Beer Prices By Football Stadium

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Given the NFL owner’s wanton disregard for their fans with the labor dispute debacle earlier this year, I’ve been paying much less attention to the football season. I check in to see if my beloved Packers have won, but that’s about it. For a number of years now — since I’ve had kids — I rarely go to a live game, usually because it’s such a time-consuming hassle and so expensive, in part because there’s four of us so costs rise exponentially. That’s especially true when it comes to beer, if you can even find anything worth drinking.

To help find a better deal, and to prove my point, Save on Brew looked at beer prices at the 32 NFL stadiums in a post entitled the 2012 – 2013 NFL Stadium Beer Price Infographic.

SOB-2012-2013-nfl-stadium-prices

Here’s what they found:

Going to the game? It’s gonna cost you. According to FanCostExperience.Com (and the source for our stadium data), prices are rising across the sport. The average beer is up 15 cents from last year at $7.28. In this economy, every cent counts.

Rounding out the price-assault on the American public, the average NFL ticket is $78.38 (that’s a regular ticket, the “premium ticket” average is $243.70), a soft drink is $4.57, a ‘dog is $4.84, parking is $27.35, a program is $4.06, and a cap celebrating your favorite team will set you back $21.38 (on average) and, of course, a few of those $7.28 beers adds up pretty fast. In fact, a family of 4 will spend, on average, $443.93.

So wow, that’s even more expensive than I’d thought. That makes movie theater food and drink look like an absolute bargain. I guess they need to make that much profit so they can pay the referees. I feel so sorry for the owners, that they must be struggling so much that they need to charge close to six times the retail price for a beer. Because if the average price for a beer at an NFL stadium is $7.28 for 17 oz., that’s 42.8 cents per ounce! That works out to be about $5.14 for 12 ounces. A six-pack of Bud Light at my local BevMo costs $5.79, making it pretty close to six times the price. Now that’s gouging.

For a mainstream craft beer it’s almost as bad. A six-pack of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale costs $8.99 at BevMo, meaning 12 ounces of pale ale will cost you more than half of the price of an entire six-pack outside the stadium.

Notice the average cost for a family of four? $444! Seriously, how many people can afford that on a regular basis? Another similar survey of NFL prices on Visual.ly, entitled The Real Cost of Attending a Game, likewise concluded that the average cost to a family of four is $427.42. In that survey, they found the average price for a small beer to be $7.13, a pretty similar result. Given how much money the owners make, it it really reasonable to charge so much for tickets and other concessions at the game? I understand that in some sense they’re market prices. There are enough people willing to pay that much, and many games are sold out or nearly so. But does that make it right? Especially when owners complain they can’t afford to pay the refs. Every few years they fleece the community in which they live, threatening to move the team if they’re not given free money, or at least tax relief, to build a new stadium they probably don’t need. Don’t believe that? Read Field of Schemes.

It’s really a shame. I love the game. I like watching the games, cheering on my favorite team, especially with my son. I know it’s a business. I get that. But sports is really a part of the entertainment industry, so it’s not exactly like other businesses. As the recent strikes in baseball, basketball and football have shown, team owners really seem to believe that the people who consume their products — the fans — don’t matter all that much. But they could ease up on the beer prices and still make a healthy profit. That’s a decision I could drink to.

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NFL Football: Pick The Winners At Brookston Fantasy Games 2012

football
This is the sixth year for the Brookston Fantasy Football Games. We’ve had a lot of fun over the last five, so if you love football and beer, consider joining us this year, whether you’ve played in past seasons or are a newcomer. The NFL season begins on Wednesday September 5, so you’ve got about five days to sign up.

I’ve again set up two free Yahoo fantasy football games, one a simple pick ‘em game and the other a survival pool. Up to 50 people can play each game (that’s Yahoo’s limit, not mine), so if you’re a regular Bulletin reader feel free to sign up for one or even both. It’s free to play, all you need is a Yahoo ID, which is also free. Below is a description of each game and the details on how to join each league and play.

Standings for both leagues will be listed at the bottom of the Bulletin’s right column.


nfl-teams

Pro Football Pick’em

In this Pick’em game, just pick the winner for every game each week, with no spread, and let’s see who gets the most correct throughout the season. I’ve added a new wrinkle this year. Since we’re all very busy, and you (or I) might screw up at least one week, you can now throw out your lowest week. All that’s at stake is bragging rights, but it’s still great fun.

Also, like last year, we’ll be able to keep picking all through the playoffs, so the game will continue through to the Super Bowl, which is pretty cool.

In order to join the group, just go to Pro Football Pick’em, click the “Sign Up” button (or “Create or Join Group” if you are a returning user). From there, follow the path to join an existing private group and when prompted, enter the following information…

Group ID#: 11630 (Brookston NFL Pick To Win)
Password: brookston


packers-retro

Survival Football

If picking all sixteen football games every week seems like too much, then Survival Football is for you. In Survival Football, you only have to pick one game each week. The only catch is you can’t pick the same team to win more than once all season. And you better be sure about each game you pick because if you’re wrong, you’re out for the season. Actually last year they added a new feature and I changed the game so to be kicked out you have to be wrong twice. In that way more people stand a better chance of lasting longer into the season. So get one wrong, and you’re still okay, get a second wrong, now you’re gone for the season. Last man standing wins.

Again, like last year, we can keep picking all through the playoffs, assuming our luck holds. So the game could even continue through to the Super Bowl.

In order to join the group, just go to Survival Football, click the “Sign Up” button and choose to “Join an Existing Group”, then “Join a Private Group”. Then, when prompted, enter the following information…

Group ID#: 4804 (Brookston Survival League)
Password: brookston

With 50 players allowed in each game, there’s plenty of room, so don’t be shy. Sign up for one or both games. Beginning after the first weekend of the regular season I’ll post the standings on the home page (at the bottom of the right-hand column) and then each Monday after that through the season. Why not join us?

The Super Bowl: By The Numbers

super-bowl-xlvi-2012
You usually see this kind of list for Oktoberfest; how much beer, how many sausages, etc. But Tree Hugger put together a list of what’s consumed during the Super Bowl: By the Numbers: Super Bowl Facts and Figures. The statistics are from 2010′s big game, but I feel confident they’re close enough. Here’s the most important numbers, about the beer.

  • 325.5 million: Gallons of beer drank by Americans that day.
  • 493: Number of Olympic-sized swimming pools that could be filled with all that beer.

A few more:

  • $5.6 billion: Amount consumers will spend on Super Bowl related items.
  • 1 billion: Number of chicken wings consumed on Super Bowl Sunday.
  • 194 million: Approximate number of blades of grass on the football field.
  • 151.6 million: Number of people who will watch at least part of the game.
  • 28 million: Pounds of potato chips consumed.
  • 293,000: Number of miles of potato chips, laid end to end, consumed during the game.
  • 232: Number of countries and territories in which the game will be broadcast.
  • 34: Number of languages the game is broadcast in.
  • 1: Number of languages in which the word “football” doesn’t mean “soccer.”

Check out the rest of the list on Tree Hugger.