Crisis (NOT) Averted

By: Audrey Marlatt //

Crisis (NOT) Averted!

You can tell a lot about a brand with how they cope during a crisis. Crisis is defined as a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger. For years, brands have had to rise to the challenge of figuring out how to navigate crises. The era of social media has made it increasingly harder for brands to endure a crisis because it can be broadcast loud and be continually shared. Social media storms are happening more often than not, here is an analysis of one of the biggest alcoholic beverage brands who had to try and cope with an immediate social media campaign crises.


Bud Light Campaign

Mean what you say, say what you mean, right? Not the case for the 2015 ‘Removing “No” From Your Vocabulary’ Bud Light campaign.

In 2015, Bud Light started a #UpForWhatever campaign that was supposed to be about people coming together for a good time. But, with not only the hashtag, the line printed on the label ‘The perfect beer for removing “No” from your vocabulary’, started a wave of negative backlash.

Bud Light obviously did not see any issues with this content until twitter comments began pouring in. If you haven’t caught what is wrong with this campaign just think alcohol and rape culture—spark a lightbulb? A Reddit thread that had brought attention to the beer’s line sparked the conversation which then spread like wildfire.



As much as Bud Light’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch, wanted to have this as a sociable campaign, it came off as degrading and had many people saying how “rapey” this campaign was. Many moments in social media history have shown that marketing teams can sometimes miss slight details that become pitfalls for a company’s reputation. Anheuser-Busch quickly tweeted out a short apology with a link to the longer apology statement.

In the end, even with an apology having been sent out, that crisis will forever taint Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light beer brand. To bring it back around, how a brand copes with a crisis is a telling sign of whether or not they can continue on in the market.


What can we learn?

Consumers are on twitter and other media channels nonstop throughout the day. With that amount of time spent, brands find that walking on needles is more relevant than ever. Users flock to social media to look for up to date content, news, and many other things. When crises occur on the different media channels they are more likely to be picked up by consumers.

With this, it is important for brands to set expectations and clear guidelines for potential crises to occur so correct actions can be taken. In the end, as much as you would think that it would be easy to identify a social media crisis before it is launched, it still happens.


Twitter: @a_elizabethm

Instagram: @a_elizabethm97, @audtography

LinkedIn: Audrey Marlatt

This Article Has 4 Comments
  1. Justin Hanes says:

    I like the campaign that you picked because I feel like it represents something that brands lack today: a lack of awareness of current events. I saw this in HM’s campaign a few weeks ago, which received a lot of backlash after posing an African American boy with a monkey sweatshirt. These types of campaigns reflect really poorly on their overall image. I’m sure that Budweiser had no intentions of promoting rape culture, but it truly did. Because Budweiser is so cheap, I imagine that this campaign was big on college campuses where rape culture is already so prominent. Their apology seemed sincere, but it still doesn’t excuse the lack of awareness.

  2. Hayden Skoch says:

    I really enjoyed your post, Audrey. I think it’s truly fascinating how a brand can be so wrapped up in a campaign that they can overlook a seemingly obvious faux pas. I think that for Budweiser this campaign did a fair amount of damage. However, it also shows how powerful brands have the ability to more easily move forward because of the existing brand loyalty. Obviously, Budweiser has a lot of customers that I like to call “blind-followers.” Regardless of any offensive, their marketing may cause consumers continue to purchase their products based on price and reliability.

  3. Kelsey Fagan says:

    I remember when this campaign came out and at first I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. The first commercial I saw was about having fun and not saying no to opportunities. It wasn’t until the second time I saw the commercial, that I realized how terrible the thought was. This lesson for the Bud Light brand is one that other brands need to utilize and learn from before publishing a campaign.

  4. Josh Hoffman says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post, because I remember the time this advertisement campaign was happening yet I never remember there being backlash from the campaign. Now that I am reading this post and finding out more about it, I can see where the company went wrong with the slogan. While I understand how Bud Light messed up with this advertising campaign, it just makes you think how difficult it must be to be able to promote a brand like Bud Light, and how much more thought must go into this kind of advertising to make sure another mistake like this doesn’t happen again in the future.

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