Original Ad Analysis
Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light brand released a campaign in 2015 called #UpForWhatever that seemingly aimed to promote that the consumption of their Bud Light beers will ready the consumers for a night of carefree fun. As a brand that attempts to encourage consumers to drink responsibly, such as launching the Bud Light Party Code that gives people tips on drinking responsibly, this campaign is controversial to their usual messaging. During the #UpForWhatever campaign, Bud Light also introduced revamped labels on their products with different short messages. The label that garnered the most negative attention read “The perfect beer for removing “no” from your vocabulary for the night”. This particular label is attached below. If #UpForWhatever leaves room for controversy to start with, the additional label messages further solidify what type of reckless “fun” Bud Light was promoting. The hashtag as a standalone campaign could have depicted the messaging to be of innocent fun. However, in conjunction with the labels, the hashtag now becomes problematic. Instead of promoting responsible behaviour, Bud Light is suggesting that consumers can be open to anything after drinking the beer. Given that the brand’s main consumers are young males, this campaign could contribute to the “boys will be boys” meme that is used as a prevalent excuse for “whatever happens”. With alcohol being abused by many people, especially in America where Bud Light is the number 1 beer brand nationally, there should not be more reason given by a beer giant to take consequences lightly. The concert crowd used in the advertisement appears to be an attempt by Bud Light to hide the implicit meaning of the campaign, which is much darker than a crowd enjoying alcoholic beverages in a controlled environment.
Jammed Ad Analysis
The jammed advertisement using the same message and hashtag aims to depict what popular scenarios result from irresponsible drinking. Sexual assault, aggression, and drunk driving are consequences that have long been associated with alcohol. Unintentionally, Bud Light is giving an avenue for such behaviour by saying its beers will help ready someone for “whatever happens”. This alteration will hopefully bring light to real, troubling consequences that stem from people having mindless fun after drinking irresponsibly. More often than not, mindless fun do not result in tame concert crowds like the original ad illustrates.
In rape culture, victim-blaming is a dominant reaction to sexual assault cases. This places the blame on the victim instead of the perpetrator. Using Bud Light’s main consumers to illustrate, even if sexual assaults could be initiated by women or men, “boys will be boys” if they have lowered self control from drinking alcohol and see a girl “dressed in a way that makes her deserve sexual attention”. He is up for whatever with the girl and Bud Light removes “no” from people’s vocabulary. For the boy, he won’t hear “no” as an answer. For the girl, “no” is not an answer.
In the crowd riot portion of the revised advertisement, I hope to reveal that people become more aggressive with the influence of alcohol. Bud Light is unwittingly giving people an excuse to blame it on the alcohol when they commit unacceptable acts.
Lastly, the opposition against drinking and driving is a longstanding conversation amongst alcohol companies and other societal organizations, such as MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers). Unlike previous attempts by Bud Light to encourage drinking responsibly and not driving while under the influence, this #UpForWhatever campaign appears to work against their advocacy.