By Amanda Moline
On April 28, 2015, Anheuser-Busch was feeling the wrath of social media users for their #UpForWhatever campaign. The Up For Whatever campaign attempted to encourage customers to have a great time while drinking Bud Light. Different facets of the campaign included promotion of the idea of being Up For Whatever at Lollapalooza and surprising avid football fans of various teams with free tickets. These various #UpForWhatever events were featured on a separate page of Bud Light’s website, which is still live to this date.
In addition to various ads and commercials encouraging customers to be Up For Whatever, 47 different messages or mottoes were printed on Bud Light bottles. The campaign ran for about two years before running into any issues, until a Reddit user posted a photo of a Bud Light bottle featuring the motto “the perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night.”
Anheuser-Busch received backlash from all over the internet, with tweets including user-generated hashtags such as #UpForConsent and messages calling Bud Light “the official beer of rape culture.” The backlash against the #UpForWhatever campaign stemmed from an increased awareness between the “close links between alcohol consumption and sexual assault” (Ingraham).
On April 28, 2015, Anheuser-Busch released a statement apologizing for the insensitivity of the campaign. Alexander Lambrecht, Vice-President for Bud Light of Anheuser-Busch, said, “It’s clear that this message missed the mark, and we regret it. We would never condone disrespectful or irresponsible behavior.”
The idea of the #UpForWhatever campaign was not aggressive or offensive in itself, but the slogan printed on Bud Light bottles was. This campaign could have been improved by simply featuring their hashtag, #UpForWhatever, to encourage consumer engagement. If they stuck with the main idea of this campaign, they should have made sure that they were not promoting reckless drinking or behavior when urging their customers to be more adventurous.
To combat the backlash Bud Light received, they could have created a more genuine post on social media apologizing for the ill-perceived campaign, and they could have been actively replying apologies to those who expressed concern about the campaign on social media sites.
If the company wanted to try to wipe the internet ‘slate’ clean of the campaign, they should not have the #UpForWhatever section of their website live, and they should have properly deleted the videos rather than having them listed as ‘private.’ I believe Bud Light should not have tried to hide the fact that the campaign ever happened, but should have instead promoted causes that serve to fight against sexual assault and help victims of sexual assault.
Bukszpan, D. (2015, April 29). What was Bud Light thinking? Consumers keep ‘no’ in their vocabulary. Retrieved February 10, 2016, from http://fortune.com/2015/04/29/bud-light-up-for-whatever/
Ingraham, C. (2015, April 28). ‘No’ means ‘up for whatever,’ according to the latest Bud Light slogan. Retrieved February 10, 2016, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/04/28/no-means-up-for-whatever-according-to-the-latest-bud-light-slogan/
Lambrecht, A. (2015, April 28). Updated: Statement on Bud Light Bottle. Retrieved February 10, 2016, from http://newsroom.anheuser-busch.com/statement-on-bud-light-bottle/
Monllos, K. (2015, April 28). Bud Light Says It ‘Missed the Mark’ With Line About ‘Removing No From Your Vocabulary’ Retrieved February 10, 2016, from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/bud-light-says-it-missed-mark-tagline-about-removing-no-your-vocabulary-164374
Okyle, C. (2015, April 28). Bud Light’s Lighthearted ‘Up for Whatever’ Campaign Takes a Dark Turn. Retrieved February 10, 2016, from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/245608