Anheuser-Busch kills Amy Schumer & Seth Rogen "Party" campaign as sales decline

It comes as a surprise to no one here in the Adland offices that the Anheuser-Busch "Party" campaign created by Wieden & Kennedy starring Seth Rogen and Amy Schumer failed to resonate with the target market. We called it when the campaign debuted during the Super Bowl 2016. The Equal Pay ad continued the tired old "political party" idea, adding a bit of progressive politics to the mix. In the end the campaign "talked a lot without saying anything meaningful" to paraphrase Kidsleepy.

I keep repeating myself ad nauseam, but insulting your consumers does not increase your market.

The hope was that this campaign would rally the younger potential beer buyers to the brand, and lure them away from the microbreweries and Pabst cans, to stop the continuing decline of sales Bud Light is suffering. However, the brewer reported today that Bud Light sales to retailers fell by "mid-single digits" in the third quarter. The brand lost 0.65 points of market share in the third quarter.

The Bud Light campaign was always intended to end its run in the fall, but as the brewer seeks to turn around the sales they are now concentrating on NFL-themed advertising. They are also counting on Lady Gaga to boost sales, a move that I can tell you right now is as poorly timed as hiring Seth and Amy was. Selecting these celebrities reeks of agency workers blinded by PR who are confusing themselves with the target market. Bud Light is sponsoring Lady Gaga's "dive bar tour," which will include TV ads and live streaming performances on Bud Light's Facebook page.
I remember when Gaga was shopping her song around to anyone who wanted her and when Toyota rejected her, she ended up in a Kia 2013 super bowl ad instead. Three years later, and a new album out that Amazon is already dumping the price of, and agencies still think she's hot? Mistake. Bud Light remain positive and Lisa Weser, senior director of marketing communications in the U.S, said to Adage that the Gaga effort is driving "unheard of engagement levels for the brand," with the "first edition of the dive bar tour was the 4th most viewed show in the U.S. that day, combining all media for that day using Facebook Live as the medium." Call me when that translates to sales.

The Bud Light Party campaign, which sought to capitalize on the buzz surrounding the Nov. 8 election was quite hyped, which makes a fail even more obvious. A distributor told AdAge : "It was a very disappointing campaign. If a campaign sells beer it doesn't matter if we like it or not as long as it works. But our trends are worse and worsening so there is a lot of concern about Bud Light." What was intended as a big humor campaign fell flat, because in 2016 audiences want their politics and their comedy separated.

Comments (12)

  • kidsleepy's picture

    On a related note: despite what the NFL heads are spinning, the dismal NFL ratings are due to people getting tired of national anthem protests. This should be an indication to anyone with eyes and ears that people want their politics and sports separated, too. Ad agencies should try getting out of their myopic offices and seeing what the rest of the world, i.e. the consumers, actually want. This ad campaign always struck me as being incredibly elitist and tone deaf for the Bud brand. The fact I get to play the "see, I told ya so," card not only tastes great but is also less filling.

    Oct 28, 2016
  • JD's picture
    JD (not verified)

    Remember when it took ESPN about 30 seconds to reach that conclusion with Rush Limbaugh got a little political?

    Oct 31, 2016
  • Major Styles's picture
    Major Styles (not verified)

    True. They will persist with their blind narrative until they sink the ship.

    Nov 01, 2016
  • GT's picture
    GT (not verified)

    You examine these things for a living. You predicted it correctly, and will likely be correct about Lady Gaga as well. I'm not in advertising but even I can tell Lady Gaga won't be a good fit for Bud Light. How can brands and agencies be so incompetent?

    Oct 30, 2016
  • bob's picture
    bob (not verified)

    I thought it was a pretty good parody. Shrugg

    Oct 30, 2016
  • Hubert Smith Smith's picture
    Hubert Smith Smith (not verified)

    Hmmmmm....I don't know how Fat Amy would sell a "light" beer.

    Oct 31, 2016
  • Major Styles's picture
    Major Styles (not verified)

    Two subversive Jews propelling lies to destroy the country, masking it as "comedy." What else is new?

    I'm sure that Dan Weiden thought it would be good for the know, more cultural subversion of the host country,

    Nov 01, 2016
  • sport's picture

    Did you come here from the stormfront forums? The ad should be critiqued on its merits, not people's ethnicity. The ad was shit, because neither of these comedians are funny or popular just as Dabitch pointed out when it began.

    Nov 02, 2016
  • Adrian Reast's picture
    Adrian Reast (not verified)

    Brain dead morons
    They need to use someone like Clint Eastwood who is liked by everyone and actually loves America and is not a Hitlary fan

    Nov 02, 2016

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Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.