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California court targets "Bud Gear" ads.

Associated Press - A court order has temporarily blocked Budweiser's "Bud Gear" advertising campaign, after California state liquor authorities said the ads illegally offered free merchandise to sell alcohol.

The temporary restraining order against Anheuser-Busch was issued Friday by the Los Angeles Superior Court. A hearing was scheduled for July 15.

Anheuser-Busch spokesman Dane Starling said the "Buy the Beer, Get the Gear" campaign, which began Memorial Day, complied with state requirements.

But the state said Budweiser's advertisements violated the state's liquor laws by offering any "premium, gift or free goods" in connection with the sale of alcohol.

ABC Director Jay Stroh described the ads as "a bold marketing effort we feel steps over the line by blatantly encouraging increased alcohol consumption to obtain points that are redeemable for merchandise."

"We believe the 'Bud Gear' is an irresponsible and unlawful marketing scheme that encourages consumers, particularly young people, to drink as much beer as possible," Stroh added.

The "Bud Gear" ad campaign also did not alert consumers that claiming the merchandise required, in some cases, paying a percentage of the cost of the product. State authorities said they learned of the program in late May and notified A-B that the program was unlawful. The state said it asked the brewer to discontinue the program; the company declined.

Starling said the campaign was an attempt to show Budweiser's customers that "we very much appreciate the loyalty of our consumers."
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Title Annotation:restraining order against Anheuser-Busch's advertising campaign
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Jul 7, 1997
Words:237
Previous Article:August Busch III television ads hit the airwaves.
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