It is no secret that the target customer of beer and other alcohol companies is young people. No one ever sees middle-aged people that have gray hair having a drink in advertisements. This image does not sell. However, images of young, attractive, perfect-looking people do sell to all audiences.
Old Navy has jumped on this bandwagon and is trying to take advantage of teen drinking with the sell of their metal beverage containers and graphic t-shirts.
Oregon Partnership sent a letter to the CEO of Gap, which owns Old Navy stores, stating:
“…the sale of such items to a young customer base is repugnant and goes against the company’s pledge of social responsibility.”
A spokes person responded to the letter:
“…at Old Navy, we strive to offer merchandise that appeal to a wide range of interests….it is never our intention to offend our customers and we apologize for any concerns related to our product.”
This response is half-hearted, to say the least. It is obvious the Gap company does not feel it needs to raise its standards and morals when selling products to the young people to purchase most of its merchandise.
Underage drinking is against the law. Killing is against the law. Stealing and holding people hostage is against the law. We don’t see companies selling t-shirts that advertise killing or kidnapping, which we agree are both against the law. But some, like Old Navy, try to promote an unlawful activity by selling merchandise that is marketed to young people.
Yes, these are just t-shirts and a “water” bottle. No, this is not the end of the world. But when alcohol has cause the devastating problems we see among teens today, adults need to help minors make good choices and be more creative in the products they choose to sell. And one last note: no where on these products does it say that people under the age of 21 should not drink or that underage drinking is against the law.