In the Doghouse

In the Doghouse: Diageo, Diddy, and the NBA Peddle Vodka to Youth

 December 11, 2013

Diddy ad

Diageo, Sean (Diddy) Combs, and the NBA want to ensure that the NBA fan experience includes drinking plenty of Ciroc and Crown Royal. Diddy and Diageo's new sponsored programming deal names the brands the new Toast of the NBA, and will make it virtually impossible to engage in an NBA game or media event without being exposed to the alcohol promotion. Diageo's VP-PR Dan Sanborn proudly describes the strategy as a way of inserting the brand into a notion of event celebration, and as a direct connection to the drink. Diageo's partnership with Diddy is particularly insidious, targeting youth of color by appealing to the NBA's young audience and hip-hop culture.

Alcohol is the #1 drug of choice among America's youth. Many youth grow up with NBA stars as role models, and NBA teams actively recruit them as lifelong fans with youth programs and merchandising. The more that young people are exposed to alcohol advertising, the earlier they start drinking, the more they drink, and the more alcohol-related harm they experience. Drowning the youth demographic with alcohol promotion while actively pursuing their brand loyalty, presumably for a later date when they are 21+, is irresponsible. All fans, particularly youth, deserve to enjoy the game without being assaulted by relentless promotion of this harmful product.