Urban Outfitters' Alcohol-Inspired Shirts: Harmful or Harmless?

Categories: Musings
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Urban Outfitters
Would you want your teen wearing this?
Carrying everything from cheap dorm rugs and lamps in animal prints and neon colors to books on how to play beer pong, it's no secret that Urban Outfitters caters to teens and college students.

Recently, the shop, which has come under fire in the past for selling T-shirts that have been deemed offensive by several ethnic groups, is now being chastised by several groups, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving, for selling T-shirts that promote drinking, according to an article in Yahoo Shine.

The shirts, available online and at the Urban Outfitters in Palm Beach Gardens (11701 Lake Victoria Gardens), come in different styles and sayings, including I Vote for Vodka; I Vote for Jack, Jim, and Jose; I Drink You're Cute; USA Drinking Team; and our favorite -- Misery Loves Alcohol.

A little disturbing are the comments on the company's shopping site, mostly from teen- or college-aged females, like the one from a young woman who identifies herself as under 18. She reviewed the I Vote for Vodka shirt, saying, "The main reason I bought this shirt is because of what it says, which I think was funny and clever and represents my summer days, lol."

Or the comment from Hopeless Romantic (again under 18) from Wichita, Kansas, who plans on wearing her Russian Sweet Death Vodka shirt to school, saying, "love the shirt it looks so punk and yet chic when you pair it with the right fit, goes with anything, can't wait to wear it on the first day of school." Hopeless Romantic even posted a picture of herself wearing the shirt. By the way -- she looks under legal drinking age.

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Urban Outfitters
While selling booze to minors is illegal, selling an alcohol-branded shirt to a teenager is not.

Does wearing a shirt that says I Vote for Vodka make a teen head to the nearest bar? According to a study from George Mason University, while alcohol marketing is effective in getting drinkers to switch brands, it's less effective in getting nondrinkers to start drinking.

So is this really such a big deal after all? When I was a teen, my father had a mattress-store franchise in Queens, New York. He would come home with shirts printed with the phrase Hillside Bedding Official Mattress Tester on them and make me wear them as free advertising. I don't think he even put two-and-two together that maybe his 15-year-old daughter shouldn't take the subway wearing that shirt. Point is -- I wore the damned thing for years and managed to not turn into a raging tramp.

Although these shirts may not be in the best taste, does wearing a drinking shirt make you a drunk?  Are these shirts inappropriately marketed to teens and college students (most of whom are still under 21), or are they just a bit of harmless fun? 

We'd like to know your thoughts. Post a comment and let us know what you think about these drink-related shirts.



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Jeff Everett
Jeff Everett

A Tee Shirt Has NEVER caused me to anything so RELAX!

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