Let’s be honest: Bud Light’s latest marketing fail in the form of the tagline, “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night” does have a “certain rapey feel to it,” as one commentator put it.
Studies show one out of six women (17.6 percent) in the US have been the victim of some form of sexual assault.
A 2009 study shows 20 percent of female college seniors will be victims of sexual assault, and 80 percent of these incidents will involve alcohol.
With all of this information, there is definitely a problem that needs to be addressed.
Though there is debate over what defines rape culture, we can all admit the anger of those who went after Bud Light (and its parent company, Anheuser-Busch) have legitimate concerns about the message of its tagline.
Before you anti-feminists start hyperventilating and skip down to the comment section to call me a liar, let me state the obvious: Bud Light did not intend for its message to be “rapey.”
I say this is obvious because Bud Light, just like any other business, is in the business of making money.
It will say or do just about anything to get consumers like you to buy its product. Intentionally spreading a “rapey” message would be completely counterproductive to that.
The controversial tagline is a part of Bud Light’s “Up For Whatever” (#UFW) campaign. I’m sure many of you have seen the commercials on TV or have been forced to sit through it before watching your favorite YouTube video.
Some young, casually dressed Madison Avenue type in a bar gets offered a free Bud Light, but only if he or she agrees to be “up for whatever happens next.”
I can't analyze the appeal of these commercials or their relevance to the product, but Bud Light knows, for the most part, what they are doing.
Back in 2012, Bud Light was the top-selling domestic beer in America, outselling both Coors Light and Budweiser combined.
With the recent rise in popularity of craft beers (defined by Google as “a beer made in a traditional or non-mechanized way by a small brewery”), Bud Light had to take its advertising and marketing to a new level.
So, the #UFW campaign was born.
Who better to market to than young people of the Millennial persuasion?
The phrase should instantly make your Spidey senses tingle as another horsesh*t marketing ploy to capture the attention of the young and the reckless.
It’s a bit subtler than YOLO (you only live once), but takes an axe to English grammar, much like McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it” slogan.
The intention to appeal to a younger audience, or any target audience for that matter, is something companies and their advertising teams meticulously put together.
The quest for cool is by nature riddled with self-doubt […]. Except now the harrowing doubts of adolescence are the billion-dollar questions of our age. The insecurities go round and round the boardroom table, turning ad writers, art directors and CEOs into turbo-powered teenagers […]. Do the kids think we’re cool? they want to know. Are we trying too hard to be cool, or are we really cool? Do we have attitude? The right attitude?
In order for marketers and advertisers to do their jobs effectively, they have to research and understand their audience as best they can.
They study the things we buy, what is considered trending or popular, what we do in our free time, etc.
They spend endless hours perusing around sites like Elite Daily and BuzzFeed in an attempt to understand what we are thinking and what we want.
So, what do the #UFW commercials and campaign say about us? We like chic bars that the beautiful and affluent frequent.
We long for rides in stretch hummers with go-go dancers and blasting EDM.
All of us would love nothing more than to be graced by the presence of some household-name celebrity. We like money, glamour and material things. We are everything but rebellious or original.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with most of these things (except that only douchebags drive hummers and EDM is garbage), in order for the offensive nature of the tagline to be ignored by the panel of well-paid marketing experts, they also had to think we don’t care.
That’s right; #UFW encapsulates the idea that Millennials are just a generation of mindless, apathetic consumers.
We don’t care about what happens next; we don’t care about the future, and we sure as hell don’t care about social issues and basic human rights.
If you disagree, then consider this: With women making up 47 percent of the United State’s labor force, it’s probably safe to assume there had to be at least a few females in a position to give input on the slogan.
I find it hard to believe no one stood up and said something along the lines of, “Don’t you think that sounds a bit, um, rapey?” And that goes without saying there are plenty of men, myself included, who find the issue of sexual assault to be a worthy conversation to have.
As funny as it is to imagine the marketing team as a group of beer pong-playing frat boys who call each other "BRUH" and bump chests every time Tom Brady throws a touchdown with a deflated football, it’s just not realistic.
As consumers and a generation of highly educated young people, maybe it’s time we put more of an effort into where we our putting our money.
Supply and demand is what keeps corporate giants like Bud Light running the game, but there is also the element of buying power we, as consumers, possess and tend to take for granted.
Maybe it’s time we think about how marketers and advertisers are being a bit “rapey” with youth culture. (I swear, that’s the last time I ever use that word.)
At the end of the day, Bud Light just sucks. And, I’m not just talking about its lack of connection with its target market anymore. Its “beer” is seriously the worst ever.
Like the bartender from John Oliver’s anti-ad said, “It tastes like if a raccoon ejaculated carbonated vinegar inside of an old log.”
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of Elite Daily.