ST. LOUIS (AP) – Anheuser-Busch is channel surfing to show it is serious about helping to curb underage drinking.
The maker of top-selling Budweiser beer has removed beer advertising from teen-oriented MTV and moved it to sister station VH1, which generally appeals to more adult viewers.
Anheuser-Busch spokesman Tony Ponturo said Tuesday the decision was made earlier this year and the brewer hasn’t run ads on MTV since Sept. 30. He said the company has an education program to discourage underage drinking and wanted to ensure that its intent isn’t misrepresented.
The company spent $534 million on advertising last year, less than $2 million on MTV.
Disclosure of the brewer’s decision comes after the liquor industry was criticized for reversing a self-imposed ban on broadcast advertising of liquor.
“They’re responding to a ratcheting up of tensions in this area,” said Ben Steinman, president of Beer Marketer’s Insights, an industry newsletter. “They just felt it was time for an extra level of caution.”
A PR deal
Steinman said he believes teens decide whether to drink based on their family environments and other factors, not due to advertising, so he doubted the decision would have much of an effect. It was more of a public relations move, he said.
Among other major brewers, Miller Brewing has said it has no plans to stop advertising on MTV, while Coors said it already does not advertise on the network.
The Federal Trade Commission is reviewing a Schlitz Malt Liquor ad that aired in July on MTV during the teen-targeted show “My So-Called Life.”