Anheuser-Busch Urged to Abandon "Idiotarod" Beer Promotion

"Idiotarod" is a Pub Crawl in Shopping Carts

February 28, 2007

WASHINGTON—Anheuser-Busch should drop its sponsorship of a Washington, D.C. charity event called the "Idiotarod," organized by a local group that goes by the acronym "SMASHED," according to the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). The March 3 event, in which young people are urged to acquire shopping carts and drink beer in one bar after another, is in clear violation of the Beer Institute's Advertising and Marketing Code, which prohibits marketing which encourages rapid or excessive beer drinking or drinking games, according to the group.

"Prepare your liver," the SMASHED organizers say on their web site. "We know there's going to be a lot of drinking and in some places we might even encourage it." As for the shopping carts the participants are urged to acquire, the organizers "don’t want to know how or from where" they come. The event, which is cosponsored by Anheuser-Busch's Bud Light brand, starts at a bar called the Front Page in Washington's Dupont Circle neighborhood on Saturday.

CSPI called on Anheuser-Busch to immediately withdraw its sponsorship of the event, which organizers say “is about testing your own willingness to make an ass of yourself."

"Here's Anheuser-Busch putting Bud Light's seal of approval on this sophomoric and potentially dangerous event, where who knows how many intoxicated people will take to the streets of Washington pushing stolen shopping carts," said George A. Hacker, director of alcohol policies at CSPI. "This makes a mockery of Anheuser-Busch’s professions of concern about heavy drinking."

Anheuser-Busch has come under fire before for promoting excessive drinking and drinking games. The company was widely ridiculed for claiming that a drinking game called Bud Pong should be played by drinking water instead of the beer the game is named for.


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