“Bud Light defames their remaining customers by saying they are idiots,” wrote a conservative commenter on Twitter In response to a new ad released by Anheuser-Busch InBev on Thursday. The beer brand’s new ad, which was first posted to YouTube, featured several individuals battling the challenges of summer sunburn, storms and screen doors, while the 1970s disco hit “Good Times” was served as the soundtrack.
Todd Allen, vice president of marketing for Bud Light, said via a statement.
“Bud Light is gearing up for a great summer, and we’re looking forward to giving our 21+ fans the easy enjoyment of all the best summer moments in the backyard,” Allen said.
Not the reaction Bud Light would have expected
The one-minute long ad spot has been viewed nearly 120,000 times since it was posted. The comment section was initially turned off, and since it has been turned on, a sample shows that the ad didn’t successfully drive the public back toward the brand.
One reader wrote, “Let me guess, all women who drink Bud Light are strong girl bosses and men are incompetent thugs… OK!!!!” Even more so by portraying them as incompetent.”
And another said, “This ad is amazing how it shows Bud Light still doesn’t know their customers. They need to hire a blue collar marketer ASAP before there’s a point of no return.”
On Twitter, the video was also swiftly mocked by the satirical website The Babylon Bee, while most of the more than 1,700 posted quotes poked fun at the ad campaign as well.
Bud Light did not respond to an additional request for comment.
feedback in progress
Bud Light is still trying to move on from the controversial ad that debuted in March featuring transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. Bud Light faced a barrage of criticism, which led the company to distance itself from the campaign – and further backlash in the LGBTQ+ community.
Beer sales declined sharply, and in May, Bud Light lost the title of America’s best-selling beer to Constellation Brands’ Modelo Especial. Financial analysts also downgraded Anheuser-Busch’s stock.
This latest ad was meant as a reset for the brand, but it’s already clear that it’s not too little, too late — it’s only riling viewers up more.
Brand market expert and social media pundit Scott Steinberg said, “In some ways, they would have been better off keeping a lower profile and letting it spread a little more.” “But there’s something to be said for being proactive. The company tried to address the social media crisis, but it didn’t work.”
One issue is that it’s unclear what audience Bud Light is trying to win over right now.
“They’re vegging off in both directions too far,” Steinberg said. “A more balanced approach is what they should have done in the first place, and it was probably meant as a fresh start, but consumers are not ready, at least not yet.”
create a new market
The social media campaign in March with Mulvaney was aimed at expanding the brand to new and younger audiences, and Bud Light is hardly alone in charting the waters in a deeply divided nation, where it’s impossible to please everyone all the time.
Steinberg said, “There’s always a risk for any business that tries something new, but if they hadn’t tried, they probably would have been criticized for being old and stale.” “In this case, Bud Light didn’t quite understand how that influencer campaign would be received by their established audience – and it was simply too much, too soon.”
Of course, that impressive campaign only happened because of the reach of social media, but that’s likely why the response has been so strong.
“Everything is promoted on social media,” Steinberg said. “It doesn’t really take that long for something to go viral — for good and for bad. But Bud Light may have gone too far and then when it got pushback it reacted too fast. Sometimes a light touch that Happens is what you need to do.”
Although it was meant to be a light touch, the new “Easy to Summer” campaign, at least on social media, is now proving that it can be easy to make fun of.