Parents beware of what your young people are drinking. Consuming alcoholic beverages can harm, distort and kill. Those are the words that the Marin Institute has been preaching for years.
And now the alcohol industry watchdog is turning that platform into a public relations fight against Snoop Dogg, accusing the superstar rapper of intoxicating black and Latino youth with a message that subtlety promotes teen alcoholic consumption.
In short, the Marin Institute is looking to put a muzzle on the message that Snoop Dogg and Pabst Brewing Company is promoting to young people, particularly black and Latino youths. The teaming of Snoop Dogg and Pabst Brewing Company to promote “Blast by Colt 45,” which comes in flavors such as strawberry lemonade, grape, raspberry watermelon and blueberry Pomegranate, has set off a firestorm of controversy because of the target audience they are hoping to reach.
The folks at the Marin Institute are none too happy about Pabst Brewing Company’s approach to revive an alcoholic beverage (Colt 45) once touted by actor Billy Dee Williams, to now include a much younger audience. Unfortunately, that includes reaching black and Latino youths, two demographic groups that are vastly affected by alcohol consumption.
According to the Marin Institute, alcohol is the drug of choice for black youth and contributes directly to the three causes of death among 12 to 20-year-old African Americans. Those causes are murder, unintentional injuries (including car crashes), and suicide. Latino youth are more likely to drink and become drunk at an earlier age than either blacks or whites, according to the Marin Institute.
The Marin Institute’s study also stated that more than 2.3 million underage youth drink alcohol each year in California. Underage drinking costs the state a staggering $7.3 billion annually. Youth violence, crime, car crashes, and high-risk sex are the most noticeable results.
Perhaps even more disturbing is the amount of money and time spent by alcohol beverage companies on advertising dollars aimed to bring in urban customers. In 2003 and 2004, alcohol companies spent close to $160 million advertising 10 different brands on Spanish-language television. During that time period, Latino youth saw alcohol advertising on 14 of the 15 programs that they most enjoy.
That’s just the button down gist of the issue. The real problem is alcohol beverage companies have sweetened their products with fruit flavors (alcopops) to make them more attractive to consumers in either a serving can or bottles. Campaigns like Pabst Brewing Company’s “Blast by Colt 45” falls in line in that regards, containing 12% alcohol in a 23.5 ounce serving can.
Because of Snoop Dogg’s enamored street credibility and high visibility with young people, the Marin Institute contends that the rapper and Pabst Brewing Company have created a dangerous product to promote to young people.
“While the federal government was shutting down dangerous caffeinated alcohol, Pabst Brewing Company was cooking up ‘Blast,’ a super sweet, fruit-flavored, supersized alcopop containing as much alcohol as four and a half cans of beer,” said Bruce Lee Livingston, Marin Institute executive director and CEO. “Joose, Four Loko, Tilt, and now Blast are racing to the bottom to harm youth.”