CSPI Attacks Airplane

A famous award-winning aerobatic airplane, the Loudenslager Stephens Akro Laser 200, was recently given by the Loudenslager family to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

The airplane won the 1980 World Aerobatic Championship. Since 1983 the plane has been sponsored by a brewer and carried the words “Bud Light.” This fact has caused the Center for Science in the Public Interest to launch a massive campaign in opposition. It asserts that “the display of the Bud Light plane, covered in gratuitous and blatant beer advertising, send misleading and dangerous messages to millions of children and youth who frequent this premier public museum.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest is wrong on at least three two counts. First, the plane is not covered with “blatant beer advertising,” but simply the name of a brand. This indication of long sponsorship is historically accurate and appropriate.

Second, the mere name of a beer brand does not send “misleading and dangerous messages” to youth. To the contrary, trying to prevent young people from seeing anything having to do with alcohol beverages sends the message that there’s something enticingly special about tem. Alcohol then becomes a highly desired “forbidden fruit.”

Research consistently fails to find any evidence whatsoever that alcohol advertising, much less the mere name of a brand, causes non-drinkers to begin drinking. It can, however, influence brand preference of drinkers. That’s why effective advertising is profitable. For more, visit Alcohol Advertising.

The misguided Center for Science in the Public Interest is actually calling for alcohol activists to pressure Congress to have the aircraft repainted to cover the “dangerous messages.” And some legislators have actually taken the bait.

It’s incredible that CSPI would squander its donors’ money on such a silly venture. But, after all, CSPI isn’t about science at all.


  • Action Alert: Help Get Beer Ads Out of the Air and Space Museum -Contact Your U.S. Representative Today! Alcohol Policies Project, Center for Science in the Public Interest website (www.cspinet.org); Trescott, J. Legislator’s protest beer logos on museum exhibit, The Washington Post, 11-20-03.

Filed Under: Alcohol Advertising