Bud Light’s marketing disaster and other all-time advertisement fails
Bud Light, in an attempt to attract new consumers alienated its base. It isn’t the first brand to have a marketing error. Here’s a look at some others.
Populations age, so do companies’ clientele. Likewise, soceities become more diverse with time. So, it makes sense to try to bring in new consumers to one’s brand. However, you have to keep in mind your core consumer at the same time. Bud Light’s marketing department seems to have missed just how reactionary its core consumer has become to certain issues.
The Number One selling beer brand tried to make its product more inclusive and attract a younger generation by launching an ad campaign with Dylan Mulvaney, a trans TikTok personality. Unfortunately for the label which is part of the Anheuser-Busch family, it did so at a time when Republicans are directing their legislative culture wars against said cohort of the population. Suffice it to say, it didn’t sit well, and the backlash was swift, and the attempts to fix it have bombed as well.
It isn’t the first botched campaign by the brand either. However, the marketing department at Bud Light can take comfort that they aren’t the only ones to find themselves in a SNAFU that is upsetting people across the board. Here’s a look at their previous muck-up and other brands that have not seen the issues that might arise from an advertising campaign.
All-time advertisement fails
Sadly, the tale of the Chevy Nova’s poor sales in Mexico because the car’s name was said to translate to “It doesn’t go” is not true, it actually sold well, but it makes for a good tale. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been times where marketing teams haven’t been up to speed on the argot of the day. And while the latest backlash at Bud Light comes at a time of anti-wokism, there are several examples of not paying attention to what was being said that don’t require the least inkling of being “woke”. While not complete, here’s a look at a few examples.
Careful with sexual humor and definitely with anything that sounds like assault…
While Bud Light’s current predicament is largely down to the culture wars, a previous misstep could’ve been avoided had someone stopped to read into what message was being sent. In 2015, the beer company launched a campaign with the slogan “The perfect beer for removing “NO” from your vocabulary for the night # up for whatever.” The brand was criticized for promoting rape culture by negating consent.
McDonald’s found out the hard way about not researching urban slang when it launched its campaign in 2005: “Double Cheeseburger? I’d hit it.” Apparently, none of them had watched or been familiarized with the movie American Pie which had been out since 1999.
While it was two years before the #MeToo movement, someone on the marketing team for Bloomingdale’s didn’t think through the implications of an ad placed in the 2015 Christmas catalogue. The bespoke full-page picture showed a man staring at a blissful woman looking away from him with the caption, “Spike your best friend’s eggnog when they’re not looking.” Date rape is no joking matter.
Snapchat seemed to miss the domestic violence implications of a 2018 promotion for a game named “Would You Rather?”. The ad gave the public the option of “Would you rather slap Rihanna or punch Chris Brown?” Nine years prior, the R&B star had left his ex-girlfriend bruised and bleeding after he physically assaulted her.
Perhaps the advert that has garnered the most attention for racial insensitivity was Pepsi’s 2017 commercial starring Kendel Jenner. In said advert, Kendel walks out of a group of multi-racial protesters and hands over a can of Pepsi to an officer forming part of police line. While the advert apparently “resolved” the tensions by creating “unity” among the crowd and police, it caused a backlash.
That same year, Dove got into hot water with an ad the company released on Facebook. A four-panel image which showed a black woman wearing a brown-colored T-shirt in the first, removes her T-shirt over the following two panels, to reveal a white woman in a beige T-shirt in the final panel. The full GIF of the advert had the white woman take off hers to reveal the black woman again, but “the diversity of beauty” idea caused a furor.