#NotBackingDown: Budweiser Takes Another Shot at Craft Beer

Budweiser’s #NotBackingDown Super Bowl commercial is aimed at people outraged by last year’s ad

Everything is a hashtag now, and AB knows that #NotBackingDown is going to blowup Twitter. They caught all sorts of hell from the beer world last year for Budweiser’s anti-craft Super Bowl commercial. So what do they do this year? Double Down like a GDMF’ing KFC sandwich.

I was one of the few craft beer lovers that didn’t have a huge problem with last year’s Budweiser Super Bowl commercial. The backlash was so strong that I’m not sure anyone noticed the commercial didn’t actually say there was anything wrong with sipping, dissecting, or fussing over beer. They simply said that’s not why they make Budweiser.

Would people be equally upset if REI dropped a commercial about how their store isn’t for people who love air conditioning, constantly clean sheets, and spending weekends inside? Somehow I doubt it.

I’m not saying there weren’t problems with the commercial, such as the fact that no one who drinks Bud gives a shit about beechwood aging. But given that Budweiser intentionally picked a non-existent and absolutely absurd beer style, Pumpkin-Peach Ale, when there are plenty of even more ridiculous craft beers that actually exist, they were clearly tiptoeing through the tulips.

That didn’t stop the craft beer world from going absolutely insane over a beer they didn’t care about in the first place. The potential confusion also didn’t stop the brand from doing it again with this year’s Budweiser Super Bowl commercial titled “#NotBackingDown.”

budweiser #notbackingdown

A big part of the problem was that Anheuser-Busch was scooping up craft breweries while at the same time they were seemingly denigrating the craft market segment (again, I saw the ad more as embracing macro and re-affirming the purpose of Budweiser). People were quick to call them out on their hypocrisy while never stopping to think that AB and Budweiser aren’t the same thing. Budweiser is a brand. Budweiser didn’t buy a god damn thing. It just sat there churning out beer.

AB-InBev bought the brands. Plenty of companies own multiple brands in the same space, and it’s Bud’s job to differentiate themselves. Their breweries in The High End are directed toward flavor-forward beer lovers. Budweiser is for people who want an ice cold lawn mower beer. Michelob Ultra is aimed at people who run and drink. Natty Light is directed at poor people. Every beer has it’s place, and they all have to solidify their target market.

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Budweiser is going to catch high hell yet again for #NotBackingDown, but like Donald Trump, the outpouring of complaints will only strengthen the brand with its base. They aren’t picking up market share, but campaigns like this help to lock in those who might otherwise stray.

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Colin Joliat
About Colin Joliat 347 Articles
Colin Joliat is the brains behind this rinky-dink operation. He covers the alcohol industry with two parts information, one part comedy, and one part WTF is wrong with this guy. He's written for Brobible, Guyism, Thrillist, CoolMaterial, Craft, and more.