Bud Light admitted that a message it printed on bottles as part of its Up for Whatever campaign “missed the mark,” after some consumers complained the tagline could encourage drunk driving or sexual assault.
“Are you OK to drive?” one Reddit user wrote. “N...nnnn...NNNNN! Aww f--- it yeah I’m good.”
“The car pretty much drives itself,” wrote another.
But most zeroed in on how the tagline would undercut the antirape slogan “No means no.”
“Because if she says Yes to a Bud Light, No isn’t in her vocabulary,” one Reddit user wrote. “Bud Light, official sponsor of easy girls and date rape.”
“Bill Cosby commemorative bottle?” wrote another.
“Remember ‘No’ always means ‘No,’” another quipped, “especially if the question is: do you want a bud light?”
“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 lighthearted way,” Bud Light Vice President Alexander Lambrecht said in a statement to Yahoo News. “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.”
It’s not the first time Bud Light’s Up for Whatever campaign has caused controversy.
Just last month, the Anheuser-Busch subsidiary was forced to backpedal after a St. Patrick’s Day tweet suggested it’s OK to “pinch” women “who don’t wear green” or “aren’t #UpForWhatever.”
Bud Light deleted the tweet and issued an apology.
“We understand some people misunderstood our St. Patrick’s Day post and apologize to anyone who was offended,” the company said in a statement. “We would never condone disrespectful behavior and our intention was only to playfully celebrate the holiday.”
Last year, Bud Light launched its Up for Whatever campaign by transforming a Colorado mountain town, Crested Butte, into “Whatever, USA,” a boozy paradise. But the buzz wore off quickly for local residents when officials ran out of the wristbands that would allow locals to access their disguised downtown, the blue paint Bud Light used on the main street washed off in heavy rains and onto their vehicles, and the more than hundreds of temporary residents of Whatever, USA, overwhelmed the airport.
— Taylor Howard (@TheRealTayHow) September 7, 2014
“With more than 1,200 consumers attending Whatever, USA, from all points across the country, it takes time to get through a smaller airport,” Bud Light spokesman Nick Kelly told the Denver Post. “We have a process in place to have all of our guests make the return trip home as safely and smoothly as possible.”
Bud Light announced in February that it will be bringing back Whatever, USA, this summer, and in April, the company revealed that it will do so in partnership with Tinder.
— Bud Light (@budlight) February 19, 2015
The exact location hasn’t been announced.