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Marketing Malt Liquor (case Study)

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Case 6. Marketing Malt Liquor

Ð'* January 1991 the company filed for protection in the NY bankruptcy court, claiming a large debt.

Ð'* G. Heileman introduced PowerMaster a Malt Liquor with 5.9 percent alcohol content

o Law states beer over 4% alcohol content to be labeled as a malt

o Typical Malt beer is 5.5%

o Typical Average beer is 3.5%

Ð'* Summer 1991, the Surgeon General and advocacy group led by the Center for Science in the Public Interest launched a campaign to remove PowerMaster from Store Shelves.

Ð'* PowerMaster received pressure from anti-alcohol and African-American activists

o Advertising Campaign

Ð'§ Black Male Models

Ð'§ Attracted young black and males (make up 1/3 of malt liquor consumption)

Ð'§ Urban youth

o The U.S. Surgeon General called the PowerMaster campaign insensitive

Ð'§ Would pursue legal action if the brand name wasn't dropped

Ð'§ Heileman Brewing Co. discontinued the product

o Government was criticized for getting involved

Ð'§ One newspaper columnist cited another brewing company and their advertising slogan (OE "It's the power") not being challenged

o James Sanders, President of the DC based Beer Institute claimed the government focused on PowerMaster to avoid the real factors the black community faced such as unemployment and poverty


1. Would it be deceptive or manipulative advertising to call your beer "PowerMaster" and to use black male models?

a. Manipulative Advertising Ð'- PowerMaster is a name used like all other brands of malt liquor (Magnum, Panther, Steel Reserve, Camo, Colt 45) to depict individuals with a status of power and masculinity. This is the first of two products pulled off the shelves for the Heileman Brewing Company (CrazyHorse;



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