The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

In just a couple of minutes on ESPN's Outside The Lines program, the question of the day is, "Does beer advertising during the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament contribute to the well-established binge drinking on college campuses?".

Please, allow me to save you 30 minutes of your time: No. It doesn't. And it's stupid to suggest it.

College students have been drinking themselves silly for decades. To attribute any of that to advertising during college sports events is idiotic. The implication is, if ads for Coors/Budweiser/Miller et al were eliminated, that would impact consumption on campus. Yeah, sure.

What's more, it's pretty hypocritical of ESPN to put forth this premise at the very same time it's promoting a Quarter Bouncers Tournament contest on it's own website. If you weren't already aware that the off-line game of Quarters is a time-honored college drinking ritual whose point is to consume huge quantities of alcohol, then the 21-year-old age requirement in this online version should tip you off.

So what, ESPN--it's ok for you to co-opt the college drinking culture for your own commerce, but it's not alright for the beer companies to do so?