As Churchill famously said, “When you’re going through hell, keep on going!” Although old Winston’s words don’t appear to be working for Bud Light who can’t market themselves a trick since the fallout from the trans fiasco began almost three months ago.
Last Friday, the brand unveiled a new minute-long ad to YouTube (you can read B&T’s original reporting HERE) called “Easy to summer”, an ode to sinkin’ suds in the summer sun and all set to Chic’s 1979 seminal disco hit “Good Times”.
Unveiling the ad, an Anheuser-Busch InBev spokesman said: “Bud Light established our ‘Easy to Drink, Easy to Enjoy’ platform at the Super Bowl and we are continuing to build on that message as we unveil our new ‘Easy to Summer’ commercial to officially kick off summer.”
Initially, Anheuser-Busch chose not to run any comments alongside the work which – when they got turned back on – did seem to be justified.
The spot is already nudging a quarter-of-a-million views since going live on Friday while the comments are probably not what Anheuser-Busch execs wanted to hear.
“Let me guess, all the Bud Light drinking women are strong girl bosses and the men are incompetent goons… Nailed It!!!!,” wrote one. Another suggested, “Yes, let’s alienate our core consumer base even more by portraying them as incompetent.”
Another added: “This commercial is amazing in how it shows Bud Light STILL doesn’t know their customers. They need to hire a blue collar marketer ASAP before there comes a point of no return.”
Commenting on the work, brand market and social media export Scott Steinberg told Forbes: “In some ways, they’d have been better off to keep a low profile, and let this blow over a bit more. But there is something to be said for being proactive. The company sought to address the social media crisis, but it didn’t work.
“They’re been swinging too far in both directions. A more balanced approach is what they should have done in the first place, and this was likely meant as a fresh start, but the consumers aren’t ready, at least not yet,” Steinberg said.
Meanwhile, attendees at last week’s Cannes Lions were quick to tell awaited media their views on the whole Bud debacle that’s captivated the marketing world.
None other than Aussie David Droga said: “The act itself it can be taken for what it is or maybe it was blown up. But how they reacted, I think there would be some debate about whether they did the right thing or wrong thing. You have to know how and when to show up. If things feel tactical, as opposed to sincere, then sometimes that can backfire,” the lauded ad man said.
Andrew Clarke, global president of Mars Wrigley added: “It’s always a balancing act, I would say. Brands want to be part of the conversation, they want to be culturally relevant and really connect with consumers, so it’s a difficult balance to get right.”
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of LGBTQ+ rights organisation GLAAD said: “What Bud Light did was they had a trigger response and they ended up alienating everyone.
“They didn’t give the extremists what they want, because the extremists wanted everything. You can never satisfy a bully.
“And then for the LGBTQ community and our allies, we’re turned off by them,” she continued. “You went and wanted to use us to market but then you didn’t come in behind us.
“So I think that they ended up losing, and you could see it in their stock price,” Ellis said.
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