Oh, Bud. What were you thinking?
My friend Lyndsay just drew my attention to the marketing line on a Bud Light label that is accidentally(?) anti-consent.
The campaign, which features young people doing stupid things after drinking away their inhibitions, includes beer labels with throwaway lines like "The perfect beer for singing out loud, even if you don't know the words," and "The perfect beer for going without a ticket and still getting into the show."
Unfortunately, one of these lines was “The perfect beer for removing 'no' from your vocabulary for the night.”
As Chris Morran writes at Consumerist,
"Given the role that alcohol plays in many things that would have been a 'no' without a night a drinking — driving under the influence, sexual assault, vandalism, public urination, random “woot-woot”-ing as you ping-pong down the sidewalk — it’s probably not the best idea for a multinational multibillion-dollar business like Bud Light’s parent company AB InBev to publicly acknowledge that its product can lead users down a path to stupid consequences."
A storm in a beer stein? Hardly. The mistake has motivated US Congresswoman Nita Lowey to publicly admonish the brand on Twitter:
RT if you agree @budlight #UpForWhatever campaign should promote responsible - not reckless - drinking. #NoMeansNo pic.twitter.com/EFxwi2nZ4w
— Nita Lowey (@NitaLowey) April 28, 2015
Twitter is lighting up with angry disapproval of the marketing and #nomeansno Tweets.
It's quite possible that this line was simply intended to be about partying without a care, but in today's media environment marketers need to be especially sensitive about miscommunication.
They also have to be responsive to disasters like this. But @budlight has not Tweeted since April 26. Double fail.
UPDATE: BuzzFeed managed to get this statement from Anheuser-Busch vice president Alexander Lambrecht:
“The Bud Light Up for Whatever campaign, now in its second year, has inspired millions of consumers to engage with our brand in a positive and light-hearted way. In this spirit, we created more than 140 different scroll messages intended to encourage spontaneous fun. It’s clear that this message missed the mark, and we regret it. We would never condone disrespectful or irresponsible behavior.”