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‘Fan Cans’ draw frowns

BY NICOLE KARLIS | AUGUST 24, 2009 7:05 AM

As football season quickly approaches, UI students have another black and gold accessory with which to show their Hawkeye spirit: a can of Bud Light.

Anhesuer-Busch’s “Fan Cans” hit Iowa City liquor stores this month and were quickly swept off the shelves. However, officials at the UI and other universities nationwide — including Iowa State — have balked at the association with the new promotion.

The black and gold pop tops have been a hit at local stores such as the Liquor House, 425 S. Gilbert St., said employee Wade Mitchell, a UI senior.

Mitchell said he’s seen UI boozers approach the new cans with curiosity at first. Then they haul away cases full of them.

“Everybody likes them,” he said.

Everyone but UI officials, who fear the promotion might be cheering on underage drinking rather than school spirit.

“We are not aware of any solid research that would indicate such marketing strategies play a role in the decision regarding alcohol consumption,” said UI spokesman Tom Moore. “However, it is a matter that we are obviously concerned about, and we will continue to monitor the situation.”

Anheuser-Busch did not consult with the UI, and the UI has no involvement with the promotion, Moore added. Nationwide, other schools were also not consulted and officials similarly distanced themselves from the campaign.

Some have reportedly asked to stop the sales at liquor stores on their campuses.

These universities have expressed legality concerns like trademark violations. The UI is currently “unclear on that matter,” Moore said. At the same time, officials have not discussed asking Anheuser-Busch to cease the promotion and are unsure if schools have the power to.

“The UI has no control over vendors and where they choose to sell,” Moore said.

“Fan Cans” are available in 26 “fan-tastic” color combinations, according to thewebsite. College students are also encouraged to vote for their favorite online.

But the party ends eventually; the “fan cans” are a limited-edition collection. The Liquor House can place its final order in October, Mitchell said, adding he did not know how many cases have already been sold or will be ordered.

For UI students, “Fan Cans” have really made an impression.

“[It’s] a great addition to the living room floor,” said UI sophomore Ryan Grego.


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