AB InBev: On a Roll With PR Atrocities

March 26, 2015

Anheiser Busch has been on quite a controversial roll since their “Brewed The Hard Way” advertisement debuted at this years Super Bowl. If you aren’t familiar with the ad, or aren’t friends with a craft beer nut who was instantaneously furious after seeing the ad; Budweiser created an ad that essentially mocked craft beer drinkers and their passion for new and adventurous beers.

The most ironic thing about the ad was that they made fun of craft beer drinkers who enjoy “Pumpkin Peach Ale’s”. But , just weeks before the ad debuted, AB-InBev acquired Elysian Brewing Co. who actually brews Pumpkin Peach Ale. Was this an oversight of their ad team? Honestly, I think not. They knew exactly what they were doing and it worked: they pissed off the entire community of craft beer drinkers and now we’re all writing about it. However, AB-InBev hasn’t stopped there.

This past Tuesday was St. Patrick’s Day; a day that’s generally celebrated by enjoying your favorite fermented beverage that may or may not be dyed green, telling everyone you’re 1/15 Irish and wearing every green article of clothing you own. Like many other brands, Budlight wanted to chime in on the fun, but I’m pretty sure they were already a few green beers deep before they made this tweet: “On #StPatricksDay you can pinch people who don’t wear green. You can also pinch people who aren’t #UpForWhatever.” budlightWas the tweet meant to be a call-to-action for men to sexually harass women? No. Does Budlight condone sexual harassment? I hope not. Was the tweet well thought out? Not in the slightest.

However, it’s really is hard for me to think of a situation where I’m managing a social media account, that has 127k followers, and I find it suitable to post a tweet that could be taken offensively by anyone; be it men, women, etc. With a brand of that stature, you have to watch your p’s and q’s with every sentence, every word and every period. With the scrutiny they were put under for the “Brewed The Hard Way” commercial, what was this social media team thinking?

There’s a difference between ruffling some feathers and crossing the line. The “Brewed The Hard Way” commercial was a well thought out ad to piss off the craft beer community and get people talking about their brand. It didn’t cross a moral line or condone sexual harassment. This offensive St. Patrick’s Day tweet was simply inexcusable. Of course they deleted it and apologized, but come on, think before you tweet next time Budlight.

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Nick Cusatis
Content Management Specialist & Craft Beer Enthusiast.