This Bud’s Not For You

It’s unbelievable to me, as a professional digital marketing consultant, that big behemoth brands can make the mistakes that they do.
Case in point: Bud Light. Recently, the beer featured labels saying that Bud Light is “the perfect beer for removing ‘No’ from your vocabulary for the night.”
Really? What a bad, bad, bad signature tag line. I thought that when you said “No” to someone’s sexual advances, no meant no. You said no to prevent sexual abuse. You said no to set a limit. Who really wants to remove “No” from their vocabulary? Who wants to be taken advantage of, or made a victim of a sexual or violent crime?
You have to understand, a team of Bud Light marketing executives sat in a boardroom and pondered this for days, before deciding that yes, this was their message. Their brilliant advertising message. And the higher-ups agreed!
People were outraged by this – and so am I. This kind of message only contributes to a rape culture.
Just consider, if you will, a small microcosm of society – the college campus. They are loaded with crime, many of them rapes, sexual assaults, and violent crimes. For example:
According to the FBI, crime statistics from more than 600 schools in the USA during 2013 demonstrated that there were several thousand on-campus crimes that were reported by American universities and colleges. Unbelievably there were even murders committed at 13 schools.
Here are some statistics that would shock many people.
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (the school Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev attended) — led all schools in the amount of total violent crimes, tallying 27 instances among 9,210 on-campus students. UMass-Dartmouth tied with Emerson College, with a total of nine student rape cases. On the national scene, by comparison, UCLA led all U. S colleges and universities in the categories of violent crime (85) and rape cases (34).
Factor in that drinking is a huge part of campus life, and I find the Bud Light message even more reprehensible.
The folks at Bud Light have apologized, saying, “We missed the mark and apologize.”
But I’m still shocked. What were those marketing people thinking?
I used to work at an advertising/marketing firm, where my overly cautious boss used to constantly scale things back, as he didn’t ever want to take any risk that sometime, somewhere, one of his ads would offend someone. He actually went too far in that direction.
And here you have the marketing folks at Anheuser-Busch condoning drinking their beverage and using it to take “No” out of your vocabulary. To promote sexual abuse.
If I was a Bud Light drinker, I’d switch to something else.
I say this as a non-drinker – but I’d stick to Dos Equis and The Most Interesting Man In The World. Now that is a winning ad campaign that is funny, memorable, convincing and entertaining. It successfully achieves what every ad should do.

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