5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street: Aug. 28

Bud's College Try

Sorry, Brother Bluto. It looks like the Federal Trade Commission wants to put Anheuser-Busch InBev (Stock Quote: BUD) on double secret probation for its college promotion.

In a move that would make Animal House nemesis Dean Vernon Wormer stand up and cheer, the FTC is putting the heat on the brewer's controversial marketing campaign that features Bud Light cans painted in college team colors, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The federal agency is concerned that the campaign could encourage underage and binge-drinking on college campuses and is urging the beer-selling behemoth to scrap plans for similar promotions.

Janet Evans, a senior FTC attorney who oversees alcohol advertising, says the marketing plan "does not appear to be responsible activity" even though the cans do not bear a school logo or name. The Bud Light campaign, which involves 27 different color combinations, began rolling out this month with roughly half of its wholesalers participating.

C'mon Janet, stop being such a buzz-kill and give America's scholars some credit. College students could not care less about the color of their beer cans. What matters most to them are temperature and price -- as in the colder and cheaper the better. (Coincidentally, Bud sent a chill through Delta House this week when it announced it would raise beer prices.)

Not wanting to tangle with the government on such a no-win -- and, in our opinion, nonsensical issue, at least 25 schools formally told Anheuser-Busch to stop distributing the themed beer near their campuses. In response, Anheuser-Busch has ceased distributing the cans in areas where colleges have formally complained.

The University of Michigan in particular is really fired up over colored cans, says the WSJ. The university is threatening legal action for alleged trademark infringement and demanding that Anheuser-Busch not sell the "maize and blue" cans in the "entire state."

We say they should chill out and give the new cans a chance. After losing to rival Ohio State in football for five years straight, the Wolverines need all the help they can get.

 

Dumb-o-meter score: 90 -- Molson Coors (Stock Quote: TAP) better watch out or the Pentagon will go after their silver bullets.





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