Kitsap Transit Eyeing Liquor Advertising To Improve Bottom Line

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
kitsap transit eyeing liquor advertising to improve bottom line

Faced with a potential budget shortfall in the coming years, Kitsap Co., Wash.-based Kitsap Transit is eyeing liquor adverts to help with the bottom line.

The move to place said adverts on its fleet came as a suggestion from the authority’s advertising partner, Titan Outdoor, KOMO-TV reports. The ad agency takes half of all revenue made on ad sales related to Kitsap Transit, and is also in charge of the authority’s mobile ad program.

Executive Director John Clauson admits it would be hard to estimate how much additional revenue adding liquor advertising to the buses — adverts are only part of its budget, alongside local taxes and fare collection — but adds if doing so “adds an extra $20,000 a year, it’s tough to just walk away from it and say no.”

While the proposal would mandate “tasteful” advertising of liquor products and include responsible-drinking disclaimers, critics warn said adverts could encourage teenagers to drink. However, most riders are welcome to the idea, with reasons ranging from keeping fares low as a result of the increase in revenue, to freedom of speech for all advertisers.

The decision to go forward with the proposal may come as soon as the authority’s next board meeting June 2. If approved, Kitsap Transit would be the first transit authority in Washington state to allow liquor advertising on its fleet.

[Photo credit: Zargoman/ Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY-SA 3.0]

Join the conversation
5 of 23 comments
  • Robert Robert on May 20, 2015

    How about renegotiating their agreement with an advertising provider that sucks up 50% of every dollar of revenue? That's a ridiculously bad deal. Irresponsibly so.

  • Kyree Kyree on May 20, 2015

    "While the proposal would mandate “tasteful” advertising of liquor products and include responsible-drinking disclaimers, critics warn said adverts could encourage teenagers to drink." I take issue with the fact that we need such disclaimers and warnings. Teenagers know better than to drink alcohol. When they end up doing so, it's probably not because of advertisements they've seen. Adults also know better than to get blackout-drunk on alcohol and then go driving, and no "please drink responsibly" disclaimer is going to aid anything.

  • Silverbird Silverbird on May 20, 2015

    Wouldn't any underage teenagers, just hop the border to BC? Not sure if that happens a lot in Washington. I know there is some of that going on around Ontario (drinking age 19) and Quebec (18).

    • Scoutdude Scoutdude on May 20, 2015

      Well Kitsap county is far from just a hop across the boarder. Now when I was going to college in Bellingham it was not uncommon to hop across the boarder to BC to go to the strip club and drink legally. However it was also the norm just to stay in Bellingham because there was always a party going on somewhere and they never checked ID. It was also not a problem to have someone buy the alcohol for you, should you not feel like going to a party.

  • Fincar1 Fincar1 on May 20, 2015

    When I first saw this item in the local paper, my first thought was that we must be in a different generation here in Kitsap County, to be worrying about alcoholic beverage ads on buses in comparison to the types of advertising that big-city transit systems have to deal with. There actually is a lot of bus riding going on in Kitsap County - we have several large U. S. Navy employers, and riding buses or carpooling has been a big deal as far back as I can remember. In fact, I talked to a Navy Yard old-timer who had carpooled with a couple of other guys from Tacoma in 1939 and 1940. I suspect that Kitsap Transit's daily routes around the county aren't a huge proportion of the total bus passenger-miles here.