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MBTA alcohol ad ban garners a collective eye roll on Twitter

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  January 30, 2012 09:24 AM

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(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)

Dozens of T riders took to Twitter to question the authority's proposed ban on alcohol ads.

While some believe alcohol advertising is dangerous for society, many Massachusetts residents don’t see the logic in a cash-strapped transit system turning away money.

That’s the takeaway from a survey of comments made on Twitter following the announcement on Tuesday that the MBTA — already under fire for proposed service reductions and fare increases — would say goodbye to an estimated $1.5 million in revenue each year by banning alcohol advertisements on T properties.

MBTA General Manager Richard Davey says the T will simply resell those advertising spaces to non-alcohol related clients. "We'll resell most of those ads," Davey told State House News Thursday, the same day that advocates for the ban staged a rally in support.

Earlier in the week, though, Twitter was afire with responses within minutes of the announcement, weighted heavily toward opposition. Naturally, @BoozeinBoston took issue with the plan: “Starting 7/1 MBTA will eliminate alcohol ads decreasing ad rev by $1.5 mil. - better idea, extend hours to after bars close.#MBTASODUMB.”

On the opposite side of the issue, @Culture_Alcohol, who wrote a graduate thesis “on the power of alcohol in shaping society,” wrote, “#MBTA Congrats on banning alcohol ads. Well done. Important.”

@ImprovAsylum, the account for the North End improvisational comedy troupe, found the humor in the situation, tweeting, “#MBTA to no longer feature alcohol ads, except for college kids traveling to Allston.”

@HyphenateMe also looked at a lighter side of the issue: “#MBTA to ban alcohol ads on T, ensuring riders have nothing of interest to look at. Cheesy continued education & medical study ads skyrocket.”

Though outnumbered, the ban had some supporters. @MsVirgoDaughter tweeted “About time,” and @ajvsell wrote, “Y'know, I'm okay w/ this.”

Others seemed to like the idea in principle but, with the budget crisis in mind, took a more guarded tone.

@jksloan wrote, “The MBTA banning alcohol ads is good from a social perspective but not the greatest idea when you're broke and could use the revenue.”

And @CopeWrites echoed that sentiment, tweeting, “I'm not a fan of alcohol advertising, but can the cash-strapped MBTA afford this?”

Love them or hate them, those ads for Svedka and Tanqueray generate revenue, and many T riders don’t see how the authority can turn its nose up at any funding source in its current financial straits.

Here are some of their colorful, but still printable, comments:

@RobertDSullivan
Should've waited for state ban so T could demand hardship $. Like race tracks.

@BostonWorst
#MBTA to bar alcohol ads on all property, trains, buses on 07/01. […] #Boston #Worst I need a drink to deal with #TCuts

@MissMaterialGrl
Boston's Banning alcoholic ads on the Mbta ooo #goodone *rolls eyes*

@Lecil
#MBTA bans alcohol ads, starting the same day as drastic cuts/fare increases. […] Are. You. Kidding. Me?!? @mbtaGM

@kevmcguire
MBTA to ban alcohol ads. Geez…these aren't school buses!

@Orange_Tim
Pretentious high school kids have convinced the #MBTA to ban alcohol ads but they're okay with renaming Park Street to Coca-Cola Station?

@annielkozak
The #MBTA cutting alcohol advertisements in the cataloged "drunkest city in America" is akin to Spike TV cutting Axe Body Spray ads

Email Jeremy C. Fox at jeremycfox@gmail.com.
Follow Jeremy C. Fox on Twitter: @jeremycfox.
Follow Downtown on Twitter: @DowntownUpdate.

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