NY Times Finds Nothing Funny in Beer Ads
Citing left-wing advocacy groups, Times writer Melanie Warner penned a two-column story, Critics Say Beer Spots Exploit Loopholes in the Business Day section of the March 29 paper. The complaints centered on the Super Bowl run of the Rooftop Bud Light ad, which involved two men taking a rooftop beer break after having told their wives they were performing outdoor chores. A third man, who wasnt drinking beer, fell through his weakened roof into the living room below.
Aghast at the commercials content, the Marin Institutes Laurie Leiber complained to The New York Times that the Rooftop ads humorous content passed muster with The Beer Institute. Advertising guidelines from the Beer Institute otherwise provide that alcohol consumption should not be shown in the context of an activity that requires a high degree of alertness or coordination.
The beer code has loopholes that are big enough to drive a team of Clydesdales through, the Leiber griped.
Warner labeled Leibers group an organization that keeps watch over the alcoholic beverage industry, but a review of the Marin Institute Web site shows its a fierce opponent of the alcohol industry. The Marin Institute advocates for increased alcohol taxes and restricted alcohol sales at sporting events and public festivals, and even slammed a major beer company for its charity work in the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina.
In addition to Leiber, the Times found three other liberal opponents of the alcohol industry to stack against Beer Institute President Jeff Becker: Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe, James Mosher of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, and George Hacker of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
Warner also downplayed the ferocity of CSPI as an advocacy group that is often critical of the food industry. Like the Marin Institute, CSPI favored increased taxes on alcoholic purchases and reducing or eliminating alcohol advertising during sporting events like the Super Bowl. On February 13, CSPIs George Hacker released a statement calling on Anheuser-Busch to withdraw their sponsorships of the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing and their sponsorships of the Olympic teams in the U.S. and other countries.
The Business & Media Institute has previously documented the medias anti-industry slant in alcohol reporting.