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strangequark
03-19-2005, 08:39 PM
we were thinking of asking several beer brewers in our area to sponsor us. Does anyone know of the legal issues with putting the names of beer companies on robots or t shirts as sponsors or know where to find it?

Eugenia Gabrielov
03-19-2005, 08:44 PM
I can see why you want to ask about stuff like this.

I'm gonna give you a couple viewpoints, and you can decide for yourself.

Viewpoint 1: A-OK!
It's just a sponsor, and you're getting money to support the cuase. As long as it's not stressed that it's an alcohol brewery you're fine, and it's important to understand that your team needs money and resources from wherever you can get them. As long as they dont' provide you with supplies you should be fine.

Viewpoint 2: Not A-OK
Your mentors may be older tahn 21, but you aren't. It's inappopriate to have that kind of info on your ad-tshirt. They may have money, but it's not proper to obtain it from them for this organization.

Here's my point: tread carefully.

tkwetzel
03-19-2005, 08:50 PM
I agree that this is a tough call. I don't think there are any rules against getting those types of sponsors, but I also don't think that FIRST wants beer names in the FIRST "image". It is a high-school event and even if FIRST allowed it, some school districts may have an issue with it. So I would check with FIRST and with your school officials before proceeding.

Simon Strauss
03-19-2005, 09:09 PM
i think it should be fine, since their is no rule against it. also I'm not sure about your team but i know on my team we are not actually part of the school in the legal sense, our accounts are under the name of the sciborgs not Bronx science and the school just simply donates space. Because of this a beer company would not be giving money to a school which would make it OK. I'm not sure about how your team is set up though, but honestly no one is really going to get offended if you are sponsored by a brewery its not like your being sponsored by a Tobacco company or the producer of a product that is a direct killer.

Cory
03-19-2005, 09:10 PM
Beer companies sponsor everything nowadays. You can't go a day without seeing beer advertisements just about everywhere, so it's not like if you don't take this sponsorship, you'll cut down on teen exposure to alcohol.

If they want to give you the money, go ahead.

Beer destroys your liver, and so does McDonalds, but you wouldn't find a single person trying to ban McDonalds from sponsoring a group of high school students.

richardp
03-19-2005, 09:15 PM
Its a hard choice. While their is nothing against it, that is the current situation. This might happen although I doubt it I would not want to be the team that makes FIRST create a ruling against sponsors. Also casinos in Las Vegas sponsor teams out their so I think you will be OK.

Alexander McGee
03-19-2005, 09:52 PM
Beer destroys your liver, and so does McDonalds, but you wouldn't find a single person trying to ban McDonalds from sponsoring a group of high school students.

Yes, but McDonald's doesn't lead to abusive households, deadly car accidents, and an overall projection of stupidity. Granted, McDonald's isn't great for you either, but that's not the point.

This is just like in every public High School in America. Shirts and backpacks advertising narcotic and alcoholic corporations are strictly banned. Why? Because kids in high school (and in this program) don't need that kind of exposure.

Alcohol is retarded. Every time I see someone drinking, I can't help but think less of them. Do people really need to make idiots of themselves to have a good time? Is this the image we want our students to have? It definitely isn't what I want for my kids. There are plenty of other outlets for sponsorship. Keep looking, and avoid conflict with other teams. I know I can't be the only one who feels like this.

KenWittlief
03-19-2005, 10:02 PM
I think there are laws against beer and liquor companys targeting minors with adverstisements

having a brewery name on a high school team is definately advertising.

Genesee brewery wanted to sponsor a team in Rochester NY a few years back, and it was decided that was a bad idea.

Im not sure who made the call, FIRST, the high school, or the companys legal department?

Personally I dont see the connection between a brewery and FIRST? how many engineers work there? Maybe they can dontate to a general fund from which your team can get money, but to have a brewery as your primary sponsor? I dont think that will go down smoothly :^)

if you could get someone like Busch Gardens, the amusememt park chain that is owned by Busch brewery, that might be a different story.

Pierson
03-19-2005, 10:33 PM
Another thing to thing about is it a brewery or a bottling company that also serves as a brewery? If it is a bottling company... there should be no issues. Or if the brewery has a bottling subsidiary, then you could put that (the bottling co.) name on your shirts.

Hieb
03-19-2005, 11:17 PM
Similar to what others have said, most schools have pretty strict rules about funding from these companies. However, they may have subsidiaries that the funding could go through so you are not advertising the beer company. Just as an example, while our team would not pursue Anheuser-Busch (here in St. Louis), we didn't feel that there was a problem approaching Grey Eagle Distributing, since Grey Eagle does more than just beer distribution.

Kris Verdeyen
03-19-2005, 11:54 PM
This is an interesting issue. Modern breweries are highly automated, requiring electrical, mechanical, chemical, and industrial engineers to be on staff. There is nothing inherently immoral about those engineers doing their job, nor is there anything wrong with them wanting to influence young people to become engineers themselves.

It is immoral, however, for a beer company to advertise to high school students, and to utilize an ostensibly educational activity to do so is doubly immoral. Tough call. I'd say that if Budweiser wanted to sponsor a team, they'd probably want to name the team after the high school, and not put a big "Bud Light" sign in their pit.

There's also another issue. If we as a FIRST community honestly feel like drinking alcohol is wrong (for the record, I don't think this), it is immoral for us to take their money.

This is a very touchy issue in a larger sense, as well. Corporations exist for the sole purpose of making money. The vision of the Microsoft corporation might be "a computer on every desktop", but if that goal were reached tomorrow, would Microsoft close up shop, and pat themselves on the back for a job well done? It's doubtful. The point is not that businesses are in business to make money, we all know that, it's that every corporation has skeletons in its closet. As a close-to-home example, my team was partially sponsored (until recently) by Lockheed-Martin, and I'll bet that a higher percentage of the end users (the pointy-end users) of L-M products were killed by them than were the end users of Budweiser products, and those were the ones that worked!

The point of this program is to show young people that engineering is a way to do something useful to the world, interesting to yourself, and able to give a yourself a good living to boot. The engineers at L-M who make ICBMs do make something useful to the world, as do the ones at Ford that make smog-belching cars, the ones at Monsanto that make genetically modified corn, and the ones at Budweiser who make adult beverages.

This is a complex issue, and I hope that it doesn't just get a knee-jerk response (either way).

Stephen Kowski
03-20-2005, 12:26 AM
i think the most interesting ideas here is too accept the money, but ask them if they can advertise one of their subsidiary companies (explain the sensitivity of the situation)....for example I would talk to Budweiser, but ask if it would be alright to promote, lets say, Busch Gardens....

Anheuser-Busch Companies:
Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
Busch Media Group, Inc.
St. Louis Refrigerator Car Company
Precision Printing & Packaging, Inc.
Anheuser-Busch International, Inc.
Metal Container Corporation
Busch Entertainment Corporation
Busch Agricultural Resources, Inc.
Manufacturers Railway Company
Anheuser-Busch Recycling Company
Busch Properties, Inc.
Eagle Packaging, Inc.
Longhorn Glass Corporation

I would then point everyone to http://www.coorstek.com/ and then ask yourself if they aren't interested in engineering....i know these companies are

Is this the image we want our students to have? It definitely isn't what I want for my kids. There are plenty of other outlets for sponsorship. Keep looking, and avoid conflict with other teams. I know I can't be the only one who feels like this.

I may share the opinion, but I am not sure. Are these companies investing in the teams purely to advertise to students, or are they doing this because they have a vested interested in people that engineer? I agree if they are sinking their money into the program to advertise to students at a young age, but I disagree if they are trying to make a pointed effort to inspire the youth. If their aim is to inspire I believe they will make concessions and attempt to do the right thing (which from what I am hearing has been done in the past). I would like the image very much of a college educated engineer that is able to make a living in whatever market it may be (even if it involves the technology being used to make alcohol). Did you know biochemists genetically engineer the perfect blue agave which a huge part in the process of making tequila. All the bottling plants....industrial engineering if I ever saw it....

Are you against the military/military contractors donating too because they employ engineers to design weapons of all types? Well then I would suggest you take that up with Raytheon and Honeywell (and all the other military contractors that donate to FIRST).....those things are designed to kill people yet you have no problem with that.....strange

(and yes I know they design things to save people's lives as well)

KenWittlief
03-20-2005, 12:42 AM
Engineers are involved in the design of modern breweries, but I would be very surprized to find any engineers on full time staff.

Once the product line has been installed, there would be very little for an engineer to do there. Technicians can maintain and repair the equipment as needed.

Engineers design things. They only 'run things' on railroads :^)

Stephen Kowski
03-20-2005, 12:57 AM
Engineers are involved in the design of modern breweries, but I would be very surprized to find any engineers on full time staff.

Once the product line has been installed, there would be very little for an engineer to do there. Technicians can maintain and repair the equipment as needed.

Engineers design things. They only 'run things' on railroads :^)

not necessarily....look above and read my discussion on the genetic engineering of the blue agave....there are other examples, but i do not have time/energy enough to find them all....i guess if you would like to get technical in this example it is a distillery, but I am considering them one in the same.....

SteveO
03-20-2005, 12:57 AM
Yeah, I think the alternative company subsidiary is a good way out. And in reply to a previous post, I'm fairly sure we are the only team sponsored by a casino :) We did have to OK it with FIRST, the administration and the school district. Engineering is a big part of the casino industry, and Las Vegas industries as well (entertainment, buildings, transportation etc.).

Pierson
03-20-2005, 01:34 AM
not necessarily....look above and read my discussion on the genetic engineering of the blue agave....there are other examples, but i do not have time/energy enough to find them all....i guess if you would like to get technical in this example it is a distillery, but I am considering them one in the same.....

I recently went on a tour of UPS's West Coast Air Hub in Ontario, California. Conventional logic would say, "UPS only has package sorters at their facilities." Not true, they have a full time industrial engineering division at each major facility across the United States. Their mission is to increase efficiency within the facility and on everything originating from that facility. I would think that breweries and bottling companies would operate on the same concept of continuous improvement.

Just some food for thought...

--Pierson

nobrakes8
03-20-2005, 02:06 AM
Its a hard choice. While their is nothing against it, that is the current situation. This might happen although I doubt it I would not want to be the team that makes FIRST create a ruling against sponsors. Also casinos in Las Vegas sponsor teams out their so I think you will be OK.

It's a touchy issue with people. Some people are annoyed that our school has coke machines and have major problems that we have Coca-Cola logos all over our gym because of obesity (can't spell), so I bet you'll have a hard time gaining support from parents and stuff about a brewery.

The reason why I quoted the vegas message, how many times during school do we (students) play cards for money or roll dice? Look at the NCAA bracket, the teachers have their secret tourny pools, and the students have their own as well, thats gambleing and it has gotten some of my friends in trouble financially.

I mean if they allow casinos to sponsor teams anybody could argue that they lead to gambleing when in reality haveing a casino on the side of your robot probably won't influence anybody to gamble if they don't want to.

Drinking is the same way, just because we see Dale Earnhardt Jr. driving a budweiser car or thinking the taste loss commericals are funny, that dosen't mean we're going to drink. The #1 thing about teenagers is, most of us choose on our own or to peer preasure to drink and smoke, not advertiseing, and when kids do that stuff, they go for the cheapest stuff they can buy, not the sponsor of a robot or their favorite nascar driver or anything like that.

If FIRST and your school OK it, as a student I really wouldn't care, and I don't think it would lead anybody to drinking just beacuse we saw some kids with Bud logos on their shirts.

KenWittlief
03-20-2005, 10:16 AM
make no mistake, advertising works. Its a billion dollar industry and the cost and returns are carefully measured

you may think it doenst 'work' on you, but you would be surprized. I know we all laught at commericials and advertisement, thinking the companys are throwing their money away. Believe me, companys dont give ANY money away unless they are getting the results they expect.

I think of casinos as an entertainment industry. You go there with money in your pocket, have a good time, and if by some chance you still have money left when you get home thats all the better.

Ive spent tons of money at WDW, and always came home with empty pockets, but I expect that.

some people have gambling problems, but you could say that about any industry.

Kevin Sevcik
03-20-2005, 10:46 AM
I think the real point here is that a beer company might be sponsoring a team for the exact same reason that NASA and Lockheed and others do. These companies have no products to sell to the public, they're just interested in encouraging kids to be engineers or to go to college and be something.

First off, engineers most certainly work at a brewery full time. There's a awful heck of a lot of mechanical equipment there, and someone has plan maintenence schedules, decide when to replace things, analyze process data for any excursions, etc. Breweries aren't that much different from chemical plants. The only difference is that you can drink the stuff that comes out of breweries.

Secondly, FIRST isn't just about engineering. I've seen quite a few students come out of our chairman's award team with a healthy interest in business. There's even an entreprenuership award. And beer companies certainly need business people.

So, I think a beer company sponsoring a team is only a problem if the company is advertising beer. A Bud Light logo on the side of a robot is bad. An Anheuser-Busch logo probably wouldn't be.

David Kelso
03-20-2005, 11:31 AM
Our team has discussed this issue too and we decided to leave it alone. We considered the TYPE of ad. I feel there would be far less of an issue if the ad said something like "drink responsibly" or your robot could have "Don't Drink and Drive" with the beer companies name below it.

Chris Fultz
03-21-2005, 12:02 PM
We could not do it - the school rules would not allow any type of endorsement from an alcohol or tobacco company. I agree with the restriction.

Peter Matteson
03-21-2005, 01:07 PM
Engineers are involved in the design of modern breweries, but I would be very surprized to find any engineers on full time staff.

Fun Fact:
Wachusett brewery in Mass. was founded and is run by a group of WPI engineering alumni.

My personal feeling is that alcohol should not be a sponsor of FIRST. It is not in the spirit of the competition. We here in CT have the ability to solicit many alcohol importers like Hueblien, (pronounced hugh-bline) that are based here. I feel that getting sponsorship from them is not right because you are not accurately saying the type of advertising you will provide. Distributors are a grey area because many alcohol distributors also sell candy, and tobacco. The easy way around this is just don't solicit them. They may have money, but the real question is do you feel right about taking it?

Kevin Kolodziej
03-21-2005, 03:18 PM
I have had the same dilemma here in Milwaukee. We have Miller Brewery right here, but is it right to go after them for sponsorship? They do sell more than just beer (their root beer is great....too bad its not available around here :confused: ), but the beer is what they are known for.

On the other hand, there is the Sprecher Brewery that also does both beer and root beer (and some other types of soda). Some people know them for one while others know them for the other. I didn't know they did beer until recently...I thought the root beer was it.

Either way, I'm not sure what the school policies are around here and I've never looked into it. Even though the 1064 team's motto was BREW (Better Robots Engineering Wisely) we never even discussed getting a brewery as a sponsor.

Its one issue that I'd rather just not touch.

Mark Pettit
03-21-2005, 03:34 PM
As a coach at a private school, I'm quite certain that I would have my administration's support if I could secure a sponsorship from a beer company.
Public schools, though, would likely have a problem with a Bud (or other) logo on your team's shirt or robot.
I'm under the assumption that the school entity, not FIRST, would be the deciding factor.
NASCAR recently started allowing hard-liquor sponsorships on race cars. Previous to this season, these were not allowed because (obviously) the combination of drinking and driving doesn't seem to work. Sponsorships for teams are increasingly hard to come by, even at that level. This past off-season, there were enough teams that had potential sponsorships from companies like Jack Daniels and Smirnoff that NASCAR had to re-visit the issue and, in the end, the sponsorships were approved.
I don't think that FIRST should disallow these adult-oriented sponsorships. These decisions should be left up to the school system.

Kevin Sevcik
03-21-2005, 03:39 PM
I submit the following link for the consideration of the masses:
A-B 2003 Contributions (http://www.anheuser-busch.com/Citizenship/Contributions2003.pdf)

A few orgs that I note on that list: Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boys Club of St. Louis, Girl Scout Council of Greater St. Louis, Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club, Logos School (http://www.logosschool.org/home.htm), Boy Scouts of America.... The list goes on for quite a way and I kind of got tired of typing. It's pretty darn impressive, though.

I submit that if their money is good enough for the Boy Scouts, it's probably good enough for us.

EDIT: For those interested - A-B Corporate Contribution Guidelines (http://www.anheuser-busch.com/publications/Guidelines4CharitableGiving.pdf)

EDIT2: I'll stop researching after this: Miller Brewing Contributions in and around Milwaukee (http://www.millerbrewing.com/inthecommunity/breweryoutreach/milwaukee.asp). Of note: St. Coletta School, St. Joeseph High School.

KenWittlief
03-21-2005, 03:56 PM
no one is doubting these companys make dontations to many good charities and other community service projects

sponsoring a FIRST team is different. Would the students be working on-site inside the brewery, like many other sponsor companys allow students into their facilities?

Kyle
03-21-2005, 04:02 PM
no one is doubting these companys make dontations to many good charities and other community service projects

sponsoring a FIRST team is different. Would the students be working on-site inside the brewery, like many other sponsor companys allow students into their facilities? Since when did brewery's have a machine shop? Also if you have ever been to a brewery you might notice that the huge tanks that the beer is distilled and made in don't have taps for people to walk by and drink from, so working in a brewery would be like anywhere else. I really don't think that the kids if they ever did build there would be allowed anywhere near those areas anyway.

Kevin Sevcik
03-21-2005, 04:24 PM
Yes, the original post was concerned with legal issues surrounding being sponsored by beer companies. I think it's obvious someone with such concerns would make sure the team wasn't getting in-kind donations or something. Just money and mentor support. I think the issue is fundamentally an issue for the team and the school to decide. I don't think FIRST has any business deciding who can be sponsors.

I think the most productive course would be to approach the principal and ask him/her. And make sure you note that it's the brewing company that will be funding the team in the interests of engineering education. Not the beer brand in the interests of advertising.