Marketing Ethical Dilemma: Pabst Brewing Co’s new drink “Blast.”
The marketing of alcoholic drinks is governed by many rules, and they all seek to encourage responsible drinking within safe limits by adult members of the public. Pabst Brewing Co recently introduced a new product called “Blast.” It is based on the company’s successful “Colt 45” brand of malt liquor and is marketed by rap music star Snoop Dogg. (Talanova, 2011) There are two features which make it different from the original “Colt 45” product, and this is that it contains much more alcohol (about 12%) and it is much sweeter in taste.
This has caused the company to come under pressure from some authorities, who think that this will encourage people under the legal drinking age to buy the product and drink it. (Bloomsberg, 2011).
The company maintains that all of its products are aimed at an older market, and that they will always promote responsible drinking. There are serious doubts about the sincerity of this claim due to the choice of bright colors and cartoonish designs on the cans, and the very sweet taste, both of which appeal to younger drinkers. The connection with Snoop Dog and rap music is also tied in with the youth market, and this may well encourage young fans to choose this drink. The pricing of the product at a rather low level is also seen as a possible encouragement for the young to buy it. The danger occurs when very young drinkers are not aware of the dangers of drinking, and when they are tempted to experiment with a product that is likely to cause health damage, and lead to erratic and risky behaviour.
Bloomsberg Businesseek and Associated Press. Online news item: “Maine AG seeks end to new high alcohol drink Blast. April 22nd, 2011. Retrieved from: http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9MOPME00.htm
Talanova, J. Colt 45’s fruit flavoured Blast drink comes under fire. CNN web page, 20th April, 2011. Retrieved from: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/US/04/20/colt.45.blast/index.html