Bud Light's "Up for Whatever" campaign is supposed to be about rallying people together for a good time. But on Tuesday it was mostly uniting people in anger at the brand.
A bottle of the Anheuser-Busch beer bearing the line, "The perfect beer for removing 'No' from your vocabulary for the night," upset quite a few consumers, who say the messaging is tone deaf considering the role alcohol frequently plays in rape cases.
A Reddit thread on Monday night brought attention to the line, part of a new wave of unique "Up for Whatever" bottles featuring snappy lines on the labels. The initial run of bottles, released in early December, featured 47 different messages "intended to inspire spontaneous fun," the brewer said at the time.
This afternoon, Lisa Weser, senior director of U.S. marketing communications for Anheuser-Busch, admitted on Twitter that the phrasing on the bottle was regrettable:
@Adweek It's clear that this message missed the mark, and we regret it. We would never condone disrespectful or irresponsible behavior.
— Lisa Weser (@LisaWeser) April 28, 2015
The brand later issued a longer statement attributed to Alexander Lambrecht, vice president of Bud Light: "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."
Here's a sampling of the Twitter responses that sparked the brand's apology:
Oh no. Bud Light's new tagline: "The perfect beer for removing 'no' from your vocabulary for the night"… pic.twitter.com/vocpMwiOI9
— Lucy Leiderman (@lucyleid) April 28, 2015
— sportsyelling. (@sportsyelling) April 28, 2015
If #BudLight removes consent from your vocabulary, let me suggest that the first NO of the evening be to Bud Light.
— Jess Banks (@ProfBanks) April 28, 2015
Hey @budlight – did you know alcohol is one of the major tools rapists use to incapacitate their targets when you came up with your tagline?
— Bailey (@the_author_) April 28, 2015
I'll be physically unable to process any sentiment that involves trying to convince me Bud Light didn't know it was making a rape joke there
— Andrea Grimes (@andreagrimes) April 28, 2015
Calling the Bud Light PR Team, you're needed for clean up in the stupid/thoughtless decisions aisle… pic.twitter.com/4FfwicUbdx
— Oliver Gray (@OliverJGray) April 28, 2015
.@budlight but can you define consent
— Ramss (@bananarams) April 28, 2015
way to advertise rape culture right on your packaging @budlight
— courtney (@cmeow_) April 28, 2015