Bud Light, sweetheart.
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) April 28, 2015
This is not a good slogan.
I know that you want us to have fun and say “yes” to life. I appreciate your (grimace, cringe, twitch) YOLO spirit and your desire that we go forth and seize the day. Carpe bud! All of this. You have invested a great deal in trying to become the beer of spontaneity, of embracing life, of saying “Yes!” instead of the beer that you drink because no other beer is available.
But someone somewhere along the line in your advertising department should have said no. Really. Before you got to the point of putting “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night” on the side of your bottles.
I know what you mean. I hope. But look at what you said.
Do you not hear how this sounds? Do you not hear how horrible this sounds, when associated with an alcoholic beverage? Have you never heard of consent?
For two years now, you’ve been trying to convince us that if we drink Bud Light, something marginally good might possibly happen to us in an elevator. We could meet a llama! Hey!
But is this campaign going at all as you hoped? The watered-down apology (at least you’re consistent) from your parent company Anheuser-Busch stated “The Bud Light Up for Whatever campaign, now in its second year, has inspired millions of consumers to engage with our brand in a positive and light-hearted way. In this spirit, we created more than 140 different scroll messages intended to encourage spontaneous fun. It’s clear that this message missed the mark, and we regret it. We would never condone disrespectful or irresponsible behavior.”
Aren’t you tired of having to apologize for your very rapey-sounding slogans? Aren’t you tired of saying “that’s not quite what we meant, when we said ‘up for whatever’ and “‘NO’ WON’T BE IN YOUR VOCABULARY TONIGHT’? Aren’t you wishing you’d chosen some other slogan like, “At least we’re not PBR” or “Very efficient for beer pong” or “Look, it could be worse” or “It’s beer!” or “For pete’s sake, what did you think you were drinking, champagne?”
Instead of embracing what you actually are, the beer of last resort, you are trying to sell yourself as the beer of people to whom something good Might Possibly Happen, if they just Believe (and use the hashtag, too!)
But in the course of trying to say that Something Good MIGHT Happen. You keep inadvertently reminding us that the worst thing that can happen to you if you drink Bud Light is not that you will have drunk Bud Light. If only. These slogans aren’t helping. “Bud Light is implied consent! Bud Light will keep you from saying No! Bud Light means you’re up for Whatever!” No! No!
Look, Bud Light, what you are trying to sell is an affirmative yes. Yes to life! Yes to adventure! Yes! Fine. Be the beer of affirmative yes, Bud Light, and we will have no beef with you. But instead you are selling yourself as the beer of the absence of No, and that is a very very different thing, especially when alcohol is concerned. The absence of No does not mean what you think it means. It does not mean you are Up For Whatever. It might mean you have had too much to drink and need to sit down somewhere safe and drink water and not be pinched or otherwise taken advantage of.
Bud Light, you may be many things. But you are also an alcohol, which is to say, a mind-altering substance. You can lower people’s inhibitions. You can alter their decision-making. You can impair their ability to consent. This is why it is so critical that you avoid embracing a slogan that implies that you are the beer of coercion.
The last thing people who are drunk need to remove from their vocabulary is “No.” No is vital. No is key.
No is still very much in my vocabulary. It is what I plan to say the next time someone offers me a Bud Light.
P.S. — Honestly, Coors, if you were to start putting, “The Beer Of People Who Respect The Need For Consent” and “This Beer Drinker Is Very Opposed To Rape And Will Make Certain You Get Home Safely If You Overindulge” on the sides of your cans, you could probably rack up some sales. Just a thought.