Daily Insights

A Barrel of Backlash

By: Alizah Asif Farooqi | Feb 06, 2019

This year’s Super Bowl may not have been anything to tweet about, but the ads were. Bud Light was the most mentioned brand in Super Bowl-related posts, with 22,500 mentions on Twitter. Here’s how a little bluntness brewed up a barrel of publicity for Bud Light.

The brand placed four ads throughout the game, thanks to its bubbling budget, all calling out rival beer brands for using corn syrup in their products. The Twittersphere burst forth with commentary, while beer brand big-shots clapped back with critiques of their own and other replies were less predictable. The National Corn Growers Association expressed itself in an earful of a tweet that rang equal parts sad and humorous. Twitter users everywhere took notice, retweeting and roasting the tweet with a slew of jokes—all mentioning Bud Light, of course.

While Bud Light may not have planned for the maze of publicity it received (Budweiser, its parent company, attempted to alleviate any damage done with a tweet of its own post-backlash), it certainly has a track record for success on social media. The lager label produces 10-15 second videos centered around its nonsensical “Dilly Dilly” campaign which are created specifically for Facebook, but also garner millions of views on YouTube as well as intense speculation.

Some large players successfully navigate the divide between traditional and digital channels by scaling content across media platforms, while adapting for platform-specific nuances. Other brands tracked in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beverages & Beer focused more on digital, with Coca-Cola and Pepsi pouring plenty of spend into summoning up engagement on social platforms like Instagram. However, Bud Light’s Super Bowl spectacle proves that one size does not fit all in marketing and that the traditional TV spot still has a place in building a buzzy brand strategy.