Archive for Monday, August 31, 2009

Crimson and blue Bud Light cans make appearance on Lawrence liquor store shelves

Bud Light is selling special edition cans of beer in Kansas University colors. The beer is only sold in a 24 pack, which also features the colors of KU.

Bud Light is selling special edition cans of beer in Kansas University colors. The beer is only sold in a 24 pack, which also features the colors of KU.

August 31, 2009, 2:42 p.m. Updated August 31, 2009, 5:17 p.m.


KU-colored beer cans anger university officials

Crimson and blue Bud Light beer cans have KU officials seeing red. Enlarge video

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Crimson and blue Bud Light cans on the shelves of Lawrence liquor stores have Kansas University officials seeing red.

Anheuser-Busch InBev has been marketing Bud Light “Fan Cans” — special beer cans distributed in the colors of major universities — in college communities across the nation, but many schools have complained.

Add KU to that list, said Jim Marchiony, associate athletics director, who said that KU wrote to A-B about three weeks ago to try to prevent the cans from appearing in Lawrence.

“We wrote to Anheuser-Busch requesting that they not move forward with that project,” Marchiony said. “I think the major issue is that it appeals to what we think is a large number of underage drinkers. We think that’s a mistake on Anheuser-Busch’s part.”

Though the use of color alone does not violate any licensing regulations, Marchiony said the school was concerned with the use of the red and blue colors as it may indicate to someone that the school was somehow involved in the promotion.

However, he said that issue was secondary to the school’s concern that the cans promoted underage drinking, Marchiony said.

Marchiony said KU continues to look into the issue, and is also in the middle of discussions on how to address it on a local level. He said he had seen that the beer company was going to honor the requests of institutions that elected to not be a part of the marketing effort.

“I think that Anheuser-Busch will respect our wishes, and we’ll talk to them,” he said.

Kansas State officials say they won't join the protest. Pat Bosco, dean of student life, says the university would object if the cans carried a Kansas State logo or picture. But he says the university "doesn't have a trademark" on the colors purple and white.

Mike Strano, manager at the Cork & Barrel near 23rd and Iowa streets, said the store got a shipment of the new blue-and-red cans on Friday.

He said, however, he didn’t anticipate that the cans would be around for very long, referencing the national response he’s seen on the issue.

Strano said he didn’t notice any uptick in sales directly tied to the beer cans.

“It’s football season,” he said. “I don’t think that it’s necessarily helping their sales.”

Kevin O’Malley, owner of the local Bud Light distributor O’Malley Beverage of Kansas, directed all questions on the promotion to A-B InBev’s corporate offices.

In a written statement, Carol Clark, Anheuser-Busch vice president of corporate social responsibility, said the marketing plan was timed with the start of the football season and baseball playoffs.

She said the cans, available in a number of color schemes, were intended to connect with fans of legal drinking age, and carry no logos, names or other proprietary identifiers.

“We place great value in the relationships we’ve built with college administrators and campus communities across the country,” Clark wrote. “Certain cans are not being made available in communities where organizations had asked us not to offer them.”

She said the program was made available to wholesalers nationwide, and about half decided to participate.

KU has implemented a number of policy changes since the alcohol-related deaths of two students last semester.

One such policy requires all new students to take an online alcohol education course. Monday was the first day students could log on and take the class.


Brent Fry 8 years ago

Marchiony is such a turd. “The licensing issue is, in our minds, secondary to the other issue,” of promoting underage drinking, Marchiony said.

Give me a break. KU may have the money to go after local businesses for supposedly violating licensing issues, but they couldn't even sniff the legal resources of a corporation like InBev. That's the only reason the licensing issue is "secondary"

urthatguy66044 8 years ago

Oh no... I wore my Crimson and blue shirt today, is KU gonna come after me too?

Ernest Barteldes 8 years ago

I honestly think that the PC police should steer clear from this issue. Why would a special can of beer promote underage drinking? I dont think it's the case - I believe it just acknowledges it...

flyin_squirrel 8 years ago

Another example of KU trying to control everything crimson and blue in the state of Kansas. Do you really think the colored cans are going to influence someone to start drinking beer? And if so, maybe the NCAA should quit taking beer advertising money. Or maybe KU should not allow tailgating or drinking in the suites at KU game if they are really worried about alcohol (but wait, those make them money...)

dlkrm 8 years ago

Maybe KU should spend its time hiring quality teachers that employ decent curricula, and hiring quality administrators who can keep the place afloat without sucking so much wealth from taxpayers and students. KU should not be interested in this issue at all. The university does not own the rights to any colors.

gsxr600 8 years ago

I was unaware you could copyright a color.

ohgeeze 8 years ago

I want some. To keep. And to put next to my 6-pack of 2008 National Champianship Coca Cola cans that I have....

Bruce Bertsch 8 years ago

Sorry, but its the mensas at InBev that are the problem here, not Marchiony. KU is one of 29 schools that have complained about the marketing of "School Colors" cans. It is admirable that KU does not want to encourage underage drinking.

Danielle Brunin 8 years ago

They're concerned about underage drinking? Yeah right. If KU cared that much about their underage students, they wouldn't be giving Hemenway hundreds of thousands of dollars a year amid their crumbling facilities and reductions in staff. If they care about underage drinking, it's only because of lawsuits and the loss in tuition money if said students die. Greedy ba$%#rds!

By the way, why doesn't KU go after Jayhawk Motel (that one surely tarnishes KU's image) or Jayhawk Dental that actually reference the Jayhawk mascot? Just curious.

flyin_squirrel 8 years ago


If KU doesn't want to encourage underage drinking, why do we now allow tailgating at games and beer in suites? I will tell you why, because it makes them money...

Joel Hood 8 years ago

I think it is a good idea for KUAC to challenge any marketing strategy that uses KU colors in an attempt to directly or indirectly link a product to KU. If Anheuser-Busch is making increased sales by indirectly linking themselves to KU, why shouldn’t KU get some of the revenue? The underage drinking thing is a red herring. Marchiony doesn’t give one hoot about that – it’s all about someone else making money in the KU market, by using symbols of KU.

Can KU trademark colors?? No, but would it be OK for AB to sell purple beer cans strictly in Manhattan KS or the K-State marketing area? Would the Chiefs complain if AB sold Red & Gold cans only in the KC market and somehow tied the special cans to Sunday football in KC?

Of course colors cannot be trademarked, but there can be violations in the overall marketing strategy. If AB wants to associate itself with KU, they should pay KU for the right to do so.

dlkrm 8 years ago


Did you learn all this in your Frivolous Litigation class in law school? This line of thinking is one of our greatest social problems.

Keith 8 years ago

Boo Hoo, KU found a company too big to bully.

somedude20 8 years ago

The simple fact (to me that is) is Bud Light tastes like s--t!!. Sorry for those of you who think that is a "tasty" beer? They could make the can look like a gold nugget but will not change the same old nasty taste.

d_prowess 8 years ago

As people have said numerous times in these cases concerning KU's trademarks (but I guess people like to ignore it), you have to take these steps to protect your brand/trademark/whatever or else you are setting a legal precedent that you don't care about it, which then opens you up to more blatant uses of it down the road. This is why 29 other schools are also doing it (you know they don't really care about the drinking issue either). KU will always do this because this is a "protect it" or "lose it" situation.

corduroypants 8 years ago

one example of trademarking colors:

Tiffany Blue From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tiffany Blue is the colloquial name for the blue color associated with Tiffany & Co., the New York City jewelry company. The Tiffany Blue color is protected as a color trademark by Tiffany & Co. in some jurisdictions including the U.S.[1][2] The color is produced as a private custom color by Pantone, with PMS number 1837, the number deriving from the year of Tiffany's foundation. As a trademarked color, it is not publicly available and is not printed in the Pantone Matching System swatch books.

sara82 8 years ago

FYI:jayhawkerjoel I was in Manhattan a couple of weeks ago and saw the "purple" cans and thought Wow those are fun why don't we have any?

ilovelucy 8 years ago

Regardless of whether or not you like bud products, this is just another example of how ridiculous this athletic dept. has become. GROW UP, KU. You are a joke.

Joel Hood 8 years ago


Sorry, I didn’t go to law school. However, I do know enough to realize that KUAC is a private corporation and there is absolutely ZERO connection between: KUAC and the tax dollars KU gets from the state (an exponentially shrinking figure); KUAC and the “teachers” that KU hires; or KUAC and the tuition KU charges students.

KUAC is charged with protecting the trademarks of the University. If AB were to use a representation of your face to sell beer and did not compensate your for it, you would sue. Even if that representation was somewhat abstract. Other products sell promotional items that reference KU – Coke did it back in 2008. But, they paid for using it, which is a commonly accepted business practice.

Branding and trademarks are big business and KUAC is…big business. Representations of KU are worth millions of dollars in promotional sales – but I guess that is frivolous to some of you KU haters out there. After all, this is just big bad ole KU putting down the little guy again…

ralphralph 8 years ago

The color of the beer can will make me binge-drink? Shame on me!

dlkrm 8 years ago

I'm a proud KU grad, but not too proud of the way my alma mater is run. "KUAC is charged with protecting the trademarks of the University." Utter nonsense. And no, I wouldn't sue if someone used an abstract representation of me. That statement further proves the point of my earlier post. And, to top it off, there is no way that a multi-colored can can reasonably be construed as an abstract representation of endorsement by KU.

BigPrune 8 years ago

I hear if you drink enough of these beers in one sitting, the colors actually get darker and look like the 'real' crimson and blue, that, or maybe it's the ugly lights.

I wonder who made the paper aware of this marketing campaign, a reporter picking up some booze, KU complaining, one of the liquor stores mentioned, or Budweiser? Regardless, free advertising is wonderful.

Danimal 8 years ago

Too bad they're full of Bud Light, gross.

Joel Hood 8 years ago

dlkrm (Anonymous) says… ..."KUAC is charged with protecting the trademarks of the University.” Utter nonsense.

Really. So which office or department or corporate entitiy at KU does protect KU trademarks and licensing if not KUAC?

Because KUAC is a priviate corporation, not one dime of tax dollars pays for the legal costs of protecting KU trademarks. As a tax payer, this sounds pretty good to me. If Blue & Red cans do not represent some sort of KU affiliation, why is AB sellinig these promotional items mainly in the market between Topeka, Lawrence and KC?

d_prowess 8 years ago

Logic, as was said early, they have to protest such uses to ensure that they don't set a precedent for future, more blatant infringements. And I highly doubt that KU or any of the other 29 schools think they actually could win. But that isn't the point. The point is they are on record for opposing it so that they have a legal record of trying to protect their copyright.
And don't blame KU or Athletics for doing this. Every company that has a copyright has to take these actions. Blame the system, not those that abide by it....

Tristan Moody 8 years ago

IANAL, but I do know that there is a lot of confusion in this thread between copyright and trademark. It is true, you cannot copyright a color, but KU's issue has nothing to do with copyright and everything to do with trademark. You CAN trademark a color within a certain context, and indeed this is commonly done. Also, unlike copyright, an entity must defend its trademark or it will lose it. Copyright exists automatically and is not threatened by enforcement or lack of enforcement with respect to infringement.

corduroypants 8 years ago

I already bought a six-pack at Joe College tonight! Go Local University Football Team!

Curtis Lange 8 years ago

Looks like I better buy a 24 pack before KU Athletics goes and screws something else worthwhile up...

puddleglum 8 years ago

dude, I got a blue car with red stripes on it and I got a speeding ticket...will the university sue me-cuz i'm giving them a bad rap?

jesus. go back to to the sandbox, jim-and take lew with you.. oh wait, he is already there, building a sandcastle skybox for the football stadium. give lew a raise, and one for hemmenway also. great guys.

bearded_gnome 8 years ago

“We wrote to Anheuser-Busch requesting that they not move forward with that project,” Marchiony said. “I think the major issue is that it appeals to what we think is a large number of underage drinkers. We think that’s a mistake on Anheuser-Busch’s part.”

Though the use of color alone does not violate any licensing regulations, Marchiony said the school was concerned with the use of the red and blue colors as it may indicate to someone that the school was somehow involved in the promotion.

---translation, AB/inbev didn't pay us the protection/use money so we will do what we can to throw mud on them, kick our feet, whine, and generally tantrum.

so, what if AB/inbev put some other logos on their cans, such as Joe College: Kansas University swim team, for example LOL!

now, those cans would be worth buying, even if they only had Bud Light [=bleck!] in them!

streetking 8 years ago

i like the idea. i like bud light. i like blue. i like crimson. i like jayhawks. i like beer. i like winning. i like KU. i like shotgunning beers. i like football. i like beer.

Steve Miller 8 years ago

Bud compared to coors original is like comparing steak to bologna. Go ahead and drink up you bud lite fans, it's like a turd in a punch boal.

Michelle Derusseau 8 years ago

How does a red & blue can promote underage drinking?

Melissa Sigler 8 years ago

Maybe I'm mistaken...but weren't the KU has a lot of back-suing to do.

Melissa Sigler 8 years ago

Not to mention if this is a problem, they should probably get rid of all liscenced KU drinking gear...koozies, coolers, wine glasses, shot glasses, highball glasses, beer pitchers, wine stoppers, corkscrews.................................

psst 8 years ago

They are doing this all over the country- OSU = orange cans

ralphralph 8 years ago

The cans! The cans! They're Blue and Red! I must drink beer! I must drink a lot of beer, really fast! I must be young, and drink a lot of beer, really fast! ...glub...glub...glub ....

Really? The color of a beer can is of concern to the U of Kansas? What a bunch of azzwypes.

CLARKKENT 8 years ago


kujayhawk 8 years ago

The AD department doesn't give a damn about underage drinking, all they want is $. This Marchiony guy is a clown.

myvotecounts 8 years ago

These red and blue cans were available at a gathering I attended last Friday. I didn't get the significance of the colors at the time, but thought it was an ugly packaging design. Then I saw that Coors was in the adjacent cooler, so I put the Bud Light down and went for the can of Coors.

My first thought about KU's concern is--aren't almost all beer cans printed in red or blue or both? The only difference with these cans is less of a silver background.

My second thought is that underage drinkers go for what is cheap. That often rules out Bud Light, or anything in cans when a keg is an option.

It will be the alumni who go for these red and blue Bud Light cans. So, KU may want to back off and give its alumni room to celebrate the crimson and blue in a way that makes them feel young again.

Alexander Neighbors 8 years ago

controversy = Free Advertising


ToriFreak13 8 years ago

kujayhawk (Anonymous) says…

"The AD department doesn't give a damn about underage drinking, all they want is $. This Marchiony guy is a clown."

This is true. Which came first....Crimson & Blue or the Athletic Department? Strange that the JW is not interviewing an actual representative of the University. The AD runs this town and anyone that pays $ to go to their events. Everyone start tailgating their bellys off outside these events and don't buy a darn thing inside. Don't even go if you can hang out on the hill, or go to your buddys' house and watch it in air conditioning on the big screen. Stop letting the "mob" run our town!

ToriFreak13 8 years ago

mdsigler83 (Anonymous) says…

"Not to mention if this is a problem, they should probably get rid of all liscenced KU drinking gear…koozies, coolers, wine glasses, shot glasses, highball glasses, beer pitchers, wine stoppers, corkscrews……………………………"

This says it all. mouth and insert foot. All of these items mentioned are sold in your gift shops and bookstores that guess what....all incoming freshmen frequent to get their books and look for the coolest memorabilia they can get their hands on to pimp out their dorm rooms. Take a REAL stand on underage drinking or admit to this just being about the money.

Steve Tramba 8 years ago

Well said ToriFreak....

KU's $ubject is from the Athletic Dept, yet K$U's is the Dean of $tudent Life? That $ay$ it all to me on the article $lant - tho$e po$ition$ are not apple$ and orange$. Ye$, I love what Lew ha$ done for KU athletically, b/c that'$ what an AD doe$, $o go after bigger problem$ around campu$ not athletically related - yet alcohol related!

BrianR 8 years ago

Promote underage drinking? Colors? Seriously?!? Do you honestly believe that?

KANSTUCKY 8 years ago

The problem is that they will be in the officially licensed KU beer koozies.

blindrabbit 8 years ago

KU colors new to Bud, but what about Griesedieck Brothers brew from St. Louis.

ralphralph 8 years ago

Bud Light = foreign owned, bad tasting, price going up. Local Microbrews = locally owned, tasty, much better all around.

bearded_gnome 8 years ago

so if I read the article right: Anheuserbleck/inbev has responded positively to the concerns like this expressed by some entities, but they've told the KUAC to go do something anatomically impossible?

interesting, a nonKansas University spokesman expresses Kansas University's bigtime concern about underaged drinking now! hmmm.

greenworld 8 years ago

I think Ku officials are being paranoid again. As in Ku students didnt drink before this can came out. Yeah right!!!! Ku officials need to get a clue and quit acting like they are in control of other people's decisions. (Shirts, beer,etc)

Miguel_Riojas 8 years ago

Promotes underage drinking?

I saw a big bag of red and blue tortilla chips at Dillons. Does this not promote obesity? Where's the outrage here????

I've also seen (quite a few I might add) underwears for the females with red and blue on them.... What are THEY trying to promote there? Promiscuity? Premarital fornication?

I have to go now....the worst possible thing in the world just happened.... .... MY WIFE HAS MY SHIRTS FACING IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS IN THE CLOSET!!!!!!!!!!!! ohhhh the incessant FURY!!!

Jeteras 8 years ago

yea pull em,, thats what those friggen belgium people get... BOOHOO too you AB for selling out an american tradition to another COUNTRY!!!

Dont see Coors selling out! If I wanted to drink foreign beer I would drink Fosters haha YUK

You should see all of the MAJOR sponsorship getting pulled in motorsports and general sports from these Pr!&ks you realize what a hit this is to the economy? Read this,,

Alexander Neighbors 8 years ago

whats next a ban on sexy lingerie that features red and blue colors because it might promote sex before marriage ???

govenorteacup 8 years ago

KU is trying to take many steps to reduce excessive drinking. I agree with their plea to InBev. But KU is going to have to start by not allowing bars to chalk their specials all over campus. Or by not allowing the Kansan to have a page dedicated to alc. specials in their paper.

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