Bud Light - Equal Pay - hated by the target market

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.

Previous in campaign Weddings and Bud Light Party

Client: Bud Light
Ad agency: Wieden & Kennedy

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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AnonymousCoward's picture

Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen? Could they pick two people more unpopular amongst the internet crowd?

Maybe their next commercial will star Ellen Pao and Sam Biddle.

Pffffffffffffffffffft's picture

"Insulting your consumers does not increase your market." I'm shocked that more businesses don't follow this advice. Then again, they're under the mistaken assumption that placating the eternally offended will get them off their backs (they won't). We are talking about the upper middle class priests of social justice who view the unwashed masses as little more than vermin. When you don't even think of your audience as human, that contempt inevitable seeps through.

You know, I wouldn't be surprised if in a year or two they started putting more pressure on beer companies, since they obviously contribute to "toxic masculinity". They already went after IPAs before.

Dabitch's picture

There are two kinds of advertising, and it's not soft sell vs hard sell. It's leading vs following. This is following. Following is fail.

btw, Pffffffffffffff... If you're referencing the Flying Dog Brewery and their fight to keep their artwork and name on their IPA, that brewery turned that episode around quite nicely. After winning a small sum, they established “1st Amendment Society” a nonprofit organization to advocate for free speech.

As for what Anonymous #1 said regarding Ellen Pao and Sam Biddle - HA! - the problem with getting celebrity spokespeople is that you also turn off the people who hate those celebrities which you illustrated quite nicely.

Jason Fox's picture

This is what happens when agencies only hire people from certain regions who ascribe to certain cultural and political beliefs. Hard to appeal to the masses when you think they're stupid.

Brendan Rex's picture

It wonder if bud light realizes that using a comedian in their adverts who openly admits to finding a man too drunk to know who she was, or even stay conscious, and attempting to have sex with him, might not be the best plan.

James Trickery's picture

It's not the first time Bud Light attempts to make comedy from gender stuff, the difference is that Bud Light wedding day is satire mocking advertising and ad execs as well as men & women wheras this comedy is just failed jokes from Seth.

I think Jason is right, input affects the output. If the creatives are metropolitans who think Seth and Amy are funny, they will fail to reach middle America who drinks the beer.

Richard W Copp's picture

Face it...we're wimps and victims...maybe these two weren't whiny enough...

pquinn's picture

I think your "Picker" is broken... If you're going for laughs or even gags, Schemer and Rogen were a "miss"..correction.. Ms. [start searching for a new AD Agency]