Consumer Groups Urge MARTA to Abandon Consideration of Alcohol Ad Sales, Naming Rights MARTA's Proposal Would Undermine Integrity of Public Transit and Pose Harm to Public Health, Particularly Youth

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) should abandon its considerations to expand the sale of alcohol advertisements and sell station naming rights, Public Citizen and Alcohol Justice said in a letter sent today to MARTA CEO Keith Parker.

According to a recent request-for-proposals (RFP) posted on the agency's website, MARTA seeks to hire an advertising firm to handle a new initiative to expand the sale of advertisements on transit property. The RFP states that new alcohol advertising and naming rights will be among the programs evaluated and considered.

Fourteen major transit agencies in the U.S. allow alcohol advertising, according to an Alcohol Justice report titled, "These Bus Ads Don't Stop for Children: Alcohol Advertising on Public Transit." Eighteen other major metropolitan transit agencies across the country ban alcohol advertising on their property.

"We write to strongly urge you to abandon considerations to expand the sale of alcohol advertisements and introduce rail station naming rights. These decisions will put the city and the Transit Authority on a path that undermines the integrity of the city's public transportation system and harms the public health of its citizens," wrote Public Citizen President Robert Weissman and Sarah Mart, director of research at California-based Alcohol Justice and report author.

The groups point out the effects that MARTA's plans would have on the thousands of children and teens who use MARTA. In the letter, they wrote, "The science is clear: a child is more likely to consume alcohol with each exposure to alcohol advertising. Research shows each additional dollar spent on alcohol advertising raises the number of drinks consumed by 3%."

The advocacy groups also assert that such plans are unlikely to alleviate the financial strain MARTA is facing, pointing to the relatively negligible revenue generated by alcohol advertisement and naming rights sales in other cities. According to Alcohol Justice's report, revenue from alcohol ads made up less than 1 percent of the reporting agencies' annual operating revenue. Moreover, consulting firms in these cities have taken significant cuts of sales revenues, reducing further the marginal revenue benefits.

Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., with more than 300,000 members and supporters. To learn more, visit www.citizen.org.

Alcohol Justice is a national advocacy, research, media and policy organization that directly challenges the political influence and marketing might of global alcohol corporations. For more information please visit www.AlcoholJustice.org

Contact: Michael Scippa, Alcohol Justice (415) 548-0492
Eva Seidelman, Public Citizen (202) 588-7751
Angela Bradbery, Public Citizen (202) 588-7741

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SOURCE Alcohol Justice



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