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Four Loko can't target young adults in marketing under settlement

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Tuesday that a multi-state settlement has been reached with Phusion Projects, LLC, that prohibits it from marketing its Four Loko, a flavored alcoholic malt beverage, specifically to young adults, according to a press release from Ferguson.

The settlement highlights the dangers of mixing caffeine and alcohol, according to the release.

One of the stipulations is that Phusion not hire  models or actors for its promotional materials who are under the age of 25 or who appear to be under the age of 21.

In 2010, nine Central Washington University students were sent to the hospital after consuming Four Loko during a party at a Roslyn, Wash., home. Four students required emergency advanced life support to treat dangerously high blood alcohol level, according to the press release.

“Four Loko targeted underage young adults to increase their profits,” said Ferguson. “I won’t stand for alcoholic marketing tactics that take advantage of susceptible young adults – particularly when those tactics can end in tragedy. It’s important to say no to underage drinking.”

The multi-state actions announced Tuesday resolve allegations that Phusion marketed and sold Four Loko in violation of consumer protection and trade practice statutes.

Under the settlement Phusion will not:

• Promote binge drinking, drinking while driving, consuming an alcoholic beverage by means of a rapid ingestion technique or device, or underage drinking;

• Promote to consumers, wholesalers, distributers or marketers mixing its flavored malt beverages with products containing caffeine;

• Sell, offer for sale, distribute or promote alcoholic products to underage persons;

• Hire underage persons or actors under the age of 25, to promote alcohol products;

• Hire models or actors for its promotional materials who are under the age of 25 or who appear to be under the age of 21;

• Promote flavored malt beverages on school or college property, except at retail establishments licensed to sell alcoholic products;

• Use names, initials, logos or mascots of any school, college, university, student organization, sorority or fraternity in Phusion’s promotional materials for its alcohol products; or

• Distribute, sell, provide or promote merchandise bearing the brand name or logo of flavored malt beverages to underage persons.

Additionally, Phusion has also agreed to:

• Not manufacture caffeinated alcoholic beverages;

• Prevent the posting of, and promptly remove, from its websites and social media any postings that depict or describe the consumption of its caffeinated alcohol beverages, the mixing of its flavored malt beverages with products containing caffeine, or the misuse of alcohol;

• Inform distributors and retailers that its flavored malt beverages contain alcohol;

• Advise retailers to display its flavored malt beverages separate and apart from non-alcoholic products; and

• Pay $400,000 to the states and the City of San Francisco.

The Attorneys General of Arizona, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Washington, and the City Attorney of San Francisco participated in the settlement.


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