Market ResponsiblyBy Greenfield/Belser
May 1, 2015
I have never understood how some of most recognized brand names continue to pull off such big marketing and PR disasters. Large companies either spend an astronomical amount of money hiring an outside ad agency to create marketing campaigns for them or have huge in-house marketing teams dedicated to delivering impactful and memorable brand content. Like this recent one from Bud Light’s “Up for Whatever” campaign where the company printed “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night” on beer bottles being distributed all over the country. Impactful and memorable? Certainly. Offensive on a number of levels? Absolutely.
It boggles my mind that Bud Light, owned by the beer giant Anheuser-Busch, had this big of a marketing slipup. Working for a firm with a tiny marketing department, any kind of promotional material that goes out to the public or a client must go through a number of hands before it is given the green light. I can only imagine how many higher-ups signed off on this before it went live. And not a single one of them found this to be offensive enough to pull the plug? Where’s the gut check?
While Bud Light clearly dropped the ball on this one, good ‘ole social media was there to make the public aware of the distasteful slogan. Twitter users jumped on the site to express outrage, pointing out that something about this slogan was not quite right. Hmm… maybe because it references rape culture, which has been in the public spotlight quite a bit over the last few months. Honestly, had it not been for the social media flurry surrounding this, I probably would have never learned that my college beverage of choice is misogynistic. Ah, the power of social media.
The Vice President for Bud Light has since issued a statement apologizing for the message and I’m certain the marketers who created this campaign do not actually support date rape and this was simply an oversight. Alas, let it be a lesson to all of us professional services marketers—choose your words wisely. The brand you worked for years to build can be tarnished overnight with one wrong move. Greenfield/Belser has four critical elements we promise to deliver to our clients when doing brand work for them: get clear, get noticed, get chosen and get results. But make sure you get noticed for the RIGHT reasons. No means no, Bud Light.