DENVER – Bud Light is backpedaling after upsetting people with a label saying the beer was perfect for temporarily removing the word "no" from the drinker's vocabulary, evoking concerns about alcohol-fueled rape culture.
Anheuser-Busch swiftly apologized Tuesday afternoon as images of the label spread online. The full label reads: "The perfect beer for removing 'no' from your vocabulary for the night."
The brewer said it intended the label to be a fun way of invoking the ongoing "Up for Whatever" advertising campaign in which young drinkers say yes to trying new things. Not everyone took it that way. Online, many comments said the wording uncomfortably evoked an alcohol-fueled college rape culture.
Bud Light last year took over a small Colorado town for the Whatever campaign, and is descending upon Catalina Island off California next month.
"Sometimes, an entire marketing team can miss the obvious. Bud Light didn't realize that "remove no from your vocab" was an issue? Yikes," tweeted Christopher Barger, a marketing expert and author.
Chimed in Jeff Barrett, a PR and social media consultant. "Bud Light....the perfect beer for marketers about to lose their job. #NoMeansNo"
Anheuser-Bush quickly tweeted out an apology: "We missed the mark on a new Bud Light bottle, and we regret it."
In a statement posted to the company's website and attributed to Bud Light Vice President Alex Lambrecht, the brewer 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. 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."