Bud Light has apologized for a marketing slogan printed on its bottles that critics said endorsed rape.
As part of its “Up for Whatever” campaign, the company had stamped some bottles with the tagline: “the perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night.” Photos of beers with the message were circulated online this week, with social-media users saying it promoted rape culture.
Alexander Lambrecht, vice president of Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light division, responded on Tuesday, saying the company would never condone disrespectful or irresponsible behavior. The message won’t be printed on any more bottles, the company said.
“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,” he said in an e-mailed statement. “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.”
U.S. Representative Nita Lowey, a New York Democrat, joined the beer company’s critics on Twitter, saying Bud Light should “promote responsible -- not reckless -- drinking.” The Bud Light campaign has drawn fire before, most recently for a St. Patrick’s Day tweet directing drinkers to pinch people who weren’t “#UpForWhatever.”
In the age of social media, marketing campaigns and product designs can travel faster and farther than ever. That means they fail harder too.
Urban Outfitters Inc. drew the ire of Kent State University last year for a red-stained vintage sweatshirt with the college logo and what looked like blood stains. Ohio National Guardsmen shot and killed four students on that campus in 1970 during Vietnam War protests.
Zara marketed a striped shirt in 2014 with a six-pointed yellow badge that resembled uniforms worn at Holocaust concentration camps. Urban Outfitters also was knocked earlier this year for a tapestry that was reminiscent of Holocaust garb.
(A previous version of the story was corrected to fix the spelling of U.S. Representative Nita Lowey.)