Group Criticizes Beer Ads in “Dodgeball” Movie

The Marin Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Other Drug Problems has criticized the new film “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story” for marketing beer to teenagers through product placement, the New York Times reported June 23.

The movie, which was the nation’s No. 1 film in its first week of opening, is rated PG-13. However, the movie prominently displays packaging and signs for Budweiser and Bud Light, brands sold by Anheuser-Busch.

Amon Rappaport, communications director at Marin, said the beer company took advantage of the lack of guidelines for advertising in movies. The current voluntary guidelines for placement of beer ads are for print and television ads, not movies. They call for brewers to run ads only where at least 70 percent of the audience is above the drinking age.

John Kaestner, vice president for consumer affairs at Anheuser-Busch, contends that the company only places its products in movies with an adult appeal. “Just like ‘The Stepford Wives’ and ‘The Terminal,’ which are rated PG-13, ‘Dodgeball’ appeals to an adult audience,” Kaestner said.