Statement of George A. Hacker
Director, Alcohol Policies Project
July 24, 1998

CSPI blasts Abercrombie and Fitch "Drinking 101" promotion

The Center for Science in the Public Interest condemns Abercrombie & Fitch for the "drinking 101" promotion in its new quarterly "Back to School" catalog. We urge the youth-oriented retailer instead to create and enroll in another course, "Corporate Responsibility 101."

The Abercrombie & Fitch promotion callously exploits a college drinking culture that is dangerously out of control. It creates yet another obstacle for college administrators, parents and health professionals who are struggling to change the culture of drinking on campuses across the nation.

College presidents agree that binge drinking is the most serious problem on campus. By pushing potent drinks comprised of combinations of distilled spirits (shooters), A&F sanctions dangerous drinking behavior. Colorful drink names, such as those listed by A&F, (Brain Hemorrhage, Dirty Girl Scout Cookie, Foreplay, and Sex on the Beach) make light of the risks related to heavy drinking.

In the past year there have been some 20 reported deaths attributed to alcohol causes on U.S. college campuses. Researchers have found that 44% of U.S. college students binge drink every two weeks. Of those, half binge drink three or more times in a two-week period. Students who binge drink experience a greater number of drinking-related problems, such as missing classes, falling behind in schoolwork, and engaging in unplanned and unprotected sexual activity.

CSPI calls on A&F to retract its promotion, recall the remaining copies of the catalog, and remove all references to the "drinking 101" promotion from its web-site. CSPI and others will be monitoring A&F's future catalogs to insure that they will be more sensitive to the severity of alcohol problems on college campuses. No more booze promotions.

CSPI is a nonprofit health-advocacy organization that focuses on alcoholic-beverage problems, nutrition, and food safety. It is based in Washington, D.C., and is supported largely by more than one million subscribers to its Nutrition Action Healthletter and foundation grants. It does not accept industry or government funding. CSPI led efforts to win passage of the law requiring warning labels on alcoholic beverages and has publicized the nutritional content of many popular restaurant foods.