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Beer ads make debut in T stations

| Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, 11:51 p.m.
Riders exit the North Side T station Friday October 5, 2012 past a pair of Rosie the Riveter ads for Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer. Pabst Blue Ribbon is spending $25,000 to place ads at Port Authority’s station for the next six weeks. Port Authority amended its advertising policy in April to allow ads pitching alcohol. James Knox | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Riders board the inbound train at the North Side T station Friday October 5, 2012. Pabst Blue Ribbon is spending $25,000 to place ads at Port Authority’s station for the next six weeks. Port Authority amended its advertising policy in April to allow ads pitching alcohol. James Knox | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Port Authority of Allegheny County is cashing in on policy changes made in April to allow a wider range of advertisements, including ones promoting alcohol.

The biggest alcohol-related campaign yet debuted this week with Pabst Blue Ribbon ads at the North Side Station and on a bus that goes through the South Side, home to more than 80 bars.

Pabst is spending $25,000 on the six-week campaign, which includes colorful, checkerboard-style ads on the North Side Station platform and seven large posters throughout the station, said Terri Landis, the agency's director of advertising sales. The posters feature Rosie the Riveter and an octopus.

“If they want to try to make an extra buck, more power to them. It's less money out of the rest of our pockets,” Carol Widel, 70, of the North Side said.

Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie said the agency has generated about $120,000 from ads that would not have been allowed under the old advertising policy. Two deals are being finalized that would bring in more cash, though he declined to say how much, he said.

Port Authority's advertising revenue has hovered around $1.3 million annually in recent years.

Port Authority still has the power to reject any ad.

“The policy still has restrictions to prevent the type of advertising that might be distasteful,” Landis said, adding that the agency reviews every ad before it is displayed.

Port Authority refused to allow one of Pabst's proposed ads, which showed a woman drinking a beer, Landis said.

“It looked a little sexually provocative, and we didn't want to have an image of actual drinking,” she said.

At the Steel Plaza light-rail station, the wireless carrier T-Mobile plans to debut a $65,000 advertising campaign Oct. 22, Landis said.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or tfontaine@tribweb.com.

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