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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

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:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
Follow Jeremy C. Fox on Twitter: @jeremycfox.
Follow Downtown on Twitter: @DowntownUpdate.

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