Craft beer may be taking over bars, shelf space, and market share, but Budweiser isn't one to back down from a fight. As usual, the brewing giant AB InBev poured massive amounts of money into ad campaigns this year, some of which didn't work out too well.
Two ad campaigns in particular got tons of attention, and not necessarily the kind you want from beer lovers, women, and other huge groups of consumers. Let's discuss below, and then erase them from our minds as we move into 2016.
That Super Bowl Ad, Though
Everybody remembers it. We were all sitting there watching the Patriots stick it to the Seahawks (sorry Seattle fans), when Budweiser decided to push an ad onto the world that somehow managed to leave a worse taste in our mouths than its own beer.
Sorry for the reminder, but take a look:
Although this ad sparked an enormous amount of outrage in the craft beer community, at least it provided us all who appreciate thoughtfully brewed beer something to laugh about. The attempt to appeal to ‘Murica resulted in the King of Beers’ campaign being the butt of many jokes and scathing articles and tweets.
The best thing @Budweiser has come out with is drinking water in a can. That way when I pour it out my plants don't die.— Dan Carlson (@FuckinDanimal) July 11, 2015
Slate Magazine’s Jordan Weissmann had a great piece that went viral pretty quickly: “Budweiser’s Awful Super Bowl Ad Is a Perfect Illustration of Why Young People Don’t Drink It.”
And some craft beer advocates took to their cameras to strike back:
Men’s Journal also provided a good angle on it, asking Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione what he thought:
“It was great for craft beer. It shows how confused and conflicted the world's biggest brewery is about how to engage an American populous whose beer tastes are changing. The more they spite us for trying beer outside of the light lager juggernaut, the more we're going to stand for something very separate from what they're about. Then as they buy out the companies making the beers they're making fun of, the hypocrisy is very apparent.
I'm sure there's a room full of MBAs and all they care about is the Budweiser brand. That's what they're paid to care about. They don’t give a shit if promoting Bud means making fun of other brand in the A-B InBev network. It shows that true craft brewers are brewers first, business people second. That company is run by nothing but business people.”
"The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night."
Not long after its Super Bowl ad, Budweiser’s Clydesdales pulled yet another wagonload of crap into our TV screens, browsers, and store shelves. Its #UpForWhatever campaign printed a number of taglines right on its bottles—one of which read, “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night.”
Those bottles hit the shelves, ad campaigns ran, and in no time people took notice. Of course, without skipping a beat, the internet attacked:
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— Auld Lang Grimes (@andreagrimes) April 28, 2015
And, of course, without skipping a beat, Budweiser apologized:
Then the company issued a statement on its website:
@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
Production was not ceased quick enough for John Oliver to take note, though:
Oh, if only our small business could afford to hire the brains behind Budweiser’s marketing team…
So, what will 2016 bring? According to the Brewers Association and other companies that research the beer industry, we should see the quality of beer continue to increase, while mass-producers like AB InBev continue to lose market share for their flagship brands.
That's not to say, though, that these giants aren't buying up the very craft breweries Budweiser bashed during The Super Bowl. It's an interesting time to be in beer!
Happy New Year from Box Brew Kits! Tell us what you think on Twitter at @boxbrewkits.