From cheeky chimps and anthropomorphic dogs to farting horses, moms with wide hips and bikini car washes, Bud Light has consistently been the low-brow humour brand, with occasional gems. Ballbusting is classic Bud Light humor, sometimes ass busting.
When Wieden & Kennedy wheeled out the two most uncharismatic comedians for the tired ad cliché of election year "The Bud Light Party" idea during the Super Bowl I made no qualms about hating it. It doesn't matter if I do, as I'm more of a wee heavy, stout or award winning pilsner drinker and the swill with the low-brow image is obviously targeted to those who still laugh at dick jokes.
That's why this ad seems so odd. There's no cut the cheese juvenile humor in sight, instead the two most overrated comedians are harping on about the gender pay gap, and trying to make this topic funny. This is the advertising equivalent of "How do you do, fellow kids," jumping on the recent media hot topic with the current media darlings, while completely ignoring that the target still thinks french maid outfit mixups are hilarious.
Perhaps it was the sudden media backlash that Bud Light received for their cheeky "up for anything" line they received last year. People read it as a rape joke, instead of the obvious extension of the campaign's proposition. Maybe that made Bud Light wander down the gender pay gap topic to show themselves "hip". Yes, lets talk about the "pay gap," where young men pay more for their car insurance than any other age and gender group, shall we? Since they are the very same young men who are the drinkers of this brand.
I keep repeating myself ad nauseam, but insulting your consumers does not increase your market. Bud Light sales have been declining to a low single digits in 2015, with no change in sight, Wieden & Kennedy might want to reconsider the tactic of using comedians who get more articles written about them, than audience asses in movie theatres. When Starbucks wanted us to "race together" it backfired as well, because sometimes all we want from a beverage is branded jokes and a quench of thirst - not a lecture.
Not every brand can lend itself to social issue advertising, but when all that your strategist has is a hammer, every brand problem apparently looks like a nail. Results? Right now this ad is overwhelmingly voted "dislike" and they had to shut off comments to it on youtube. I'd hashtag it #fail but it's not 2007.
Client: Bud Light
Ad agency: Wieden & Kennedy