CSPI Slams NASCAR Hard-Liquor Deal
Statement of CSPI Alcohol Policies Project Director George Hacker
November 10, 2004
NASCAR's decision to abandon 30 years of limiting the promotion of alcoholic beverages at its racing events spells trouble for young race fans and for national efforts to reduce the association of drinking and driving. It's bad enough that popular beer brands have become as much a part of car racing as they have. NASCAR's cute website headline about the new deal with liquor ("Liquor's Quicker") suggests that NASCAR is already adopting a cavalier and irresponsible approach to liquor promotion.
The point of this deal is to sneak rolling liquor ads onto network television, where millions of NASCARís underage and impressionable fans will see them. The networks' longstanding refusal to run liquor ads is seriously under siege.
NASCAR's assurances that the sponsorships will be responsible and meet current liquor-industry advertising standards is faint comfort. Those standards are vague, industry-friendly, and unenforceable. Likewise, the new sponsors' commitments to "responsibility" advertising are laughable. Having the liquor industry promote responsible drinking is like having Ronald McDonald promote healthy eating or Joe Camel promote smoking cessation.