WWTT? Budweiser Shares Spooky Mugshots in ‘Drink Wiser’ Campaign

In celebration of the spooky season, Budweiser put a Halloween spin on its “Drink Wiser” campaign, enlisting the help of those who know how much it sucks to be arrested for irresponsible drinking.

Halloween isn’t just for trick-or-treaters, however it seems that many of the “treats” for adult revelers often involve bars, parties, and alcohol, and thus many of the tricks can be less than amusing … especially when drinking and driving are combined. So in celebration of the spooky season, Budweiser put a Halloween spin on its “Drink Wiser” campaign, enlisting the help of those who know how much it sucks to be arrested for irresponsible drinking.

The Drink Wiser campaign kicked off originally in 2018, taking on the topic of binge-drinking and alcohol-impaired driving. In the original effort, Budweiser promoted the importance of hydrating in-between beers, as well as planning ahead regarding safe transportation options home.

For Halloween, Budweiser continued to promote the same efforts, but with a season-appropriate twist for its social media and digital out-of-home (OOH) visuals: The macrobrewer worked with actual individuals who were arrested for irresponsible drinking during Halloween seasons of the past.

Budweiser 'Drink Wiser' Campaign
Credit: Budweiser

While these aren’t the actual mug shots of Sharyn W., Cesar O., or Ameneh K., Budweiser opted to re-imagine these three individuals in Halloween costumes that had clearly seen better days. With the tagline of “Don’t Let Halloween Haunt You Forever,” the campaign’s digital OOH ads will be present in Chicago, New York City, and Philadelphia.

For the social component of the campaign, Budweiser has advised fans to follow it on Twitter, @BudweiserUSA, as well as turn on tweet notifications to receive reminders to drink responsibly and hydrate with water between beers.

According to an Anheuser-Busch (parent company of Budweiser) press release, Budweiser has been involved in cause marketing for over a century. “Budweiser Means Moderation” was the brewer’s first responsible drinking message — dating back to over a 100 years ago — and its first responsible drinking campaign “Know When to Say When” debuted over 35 years ago.

Halloween can be quite the party holiday for many, and it’s smart of Budweiser to come out ahead of it, reminding people to consume its products responsibly. The Halloween costume-themed mug shots are a great visual to use, and hopefully have people thinking twice about drinking and driving.

We see a lot of campaigns that — rightly so — show just how horrible drinking and driving can be for all involved. But I appreciate that Budweiser mixed humor and shame together to get the point across about irresponsible drinking this Halloween.

Shared Accountability — A Frightening Concept

With Halloween right around the corner with all of its goblins and scarecrows, it seems appropriate to ponder the frightening — accountability.

Halloween SEO
“Boo The Penguin Pug,” Creative Commons license. | Credit: Flickr by DaPuglet

With Halloween right around the corner with all of its goblins and scarecrows, it seems appropriate to ponder the frightening — accountability.

As a practicing SEO, my clients expect me to provide advise they can trust and to offer recommendations that are effective. It is my belief that the search marketer must work as a collaborator with the site owners to accomplish their marketing goals.

This does not mean always doling out easy-to-accomplish, short-term strategies that have all of the staying power of Halloween candy. The quick-fix treat will fast turn into a trick if it is not grounded in long-term strategic thinking. Accountability must be shared for results to continue past the turn of the calendar page. The SEO/client relationship does not work if both parties are not willing and able to commit the time and resources to accomplish the strategic and tactical recommendations.

Was It Bad Advice or Bad Consent?

Most SEOs, myself included, will admit that not every project undertaken, every client engagement, every campaign launched was a total, unqualified success.

Not every client becomes a raving fan — much though we would sure love it and work hard to make it happen. I am no longer taking new clients and have the pleasure of taking time to reflect on what has made some engagements a wonderful journey, an exploration into the heights and depths of search marketing success, and others a tough slog in a trackless wasteland.

What separates one from the other? It has not been how difficult the tasks were to accomplish, for all SEO is just technology and marketing. I have worked with as many struggling and stumbling teams as brilliant marketers and terrific technologists. This does not seem to be the deciding line.

What I have come to realize is that projects that didn’t work were not necessarily the product of bad advice, but rather a mismatch of advice and consent. All too often, I have encountered ambitious eager marketers who underestimated the technical challenges that their site presented. They were gung-ho to conquer their marketplace, and didn’t realize the limitations of their technology or team. Sometimes they have encountered a technology roadmap so long that the marketing team’s requirements are an outpost on the map that won’t be reached in this century.

This is a hard realization for those whose results hinge on site changes that no one else considers significant. Sometimes, the mismatch was due to no one realizing just how much real work must go into SEO in a content-driven search environment. Little magic elves don’t create quality content in just a few moments.

The most successful and rewarding client engagements have required a shared set of goals (SEO, marketing and technology) coupled with a real understanding of the task at hand and mutual accountability on all sides for accomplishing the milestones needed to meet the goals. This requires a level of honesty and openness that is refreshing as it is infrequently encountered.

When it all works together, the results can be truly gratifying. It has been my pleasure to enjoy more than my share of these sweet successes.

The Worst Customer Experience I Regularly Have: Philly’s SEPTA Transit Network

We talk a lot here about how you should treat your customers. On my way home from work Monday night, Halloween, I was reminded both how important that is, and how some companies get it wrong. There is one really, really bad customer experience I go through regularly, and it’s my commute home on SEPTA Regional Rail.

We talk a lot here about how you should treat your customers. On my way home from work Monday night, Halloween, I was reminded both how important that is, and how some companies get it wrong. There is one really, really bad customer experience I go through regularly, and it’s my commute home on SEPTA Regional Rail.

What’s SEPTA?

SEPTA is the public transportation company that covers the greater Philadelphia area. For the past 9 years, I’ve spent about 2 hours a day riding it’s Philadelphia-to-Trenton line to and from work.

So on Halloween night, Monday, I was standing on the train platform trying to catch a slightly early train home. The train comes — already a bit late — and we all get on. I put on some headphones, start listening to music, try to get enough connectivity to check my email … Train doesn’t move. A few minutes later a voice comes over the speakers and tells us there’s a crew change, we all have to get off the train.

Once we’re on the platform, a different voice comes over the platform speakers. And with all the sympathy of a prison warden canceling the inmates’ movie night, it says “the 5:59 Trenton train is canceled.” We get no other information.

The tone of the voice makes it clear they know we’re going to be upset, and the speaker doesn’t want to hear it. (After all, it’s been a hard night for our monolithic transportation agency, we really shouldn’t burden them with our pitiful riders’ concerns, should we?)

There’s another train coming, but I’m not getting home early.

They announce this several more times. Finally the wording changes: “Due to a personnel shortage, the train is canceled.” The next train is at 6:24 PM, it’s running 10 minutes late itself, and they’re making it a local.

The Customer Experience Is Personal

This all means I’m going from trying to get home before 7, when some trick or treating might still be going on, to getting home after 8 when Halloween is essentially over.

Who’s Winning Halloween?

We got our first Christmas card this week! That’s crazy. They’re skipping the best holiday: Halloween! Fortunately, not everyone is skipping the year’s most fun holiday. In fact, candy and costumes are flying off the shelves. HookLogic has released a report on the leading costumes and candies of the spooking season.

We got our first Christmas card this week! That’s crazy. They’re skipping the best holiday: Halloween!

Santa on HalloweenFortunately, not everyone is skipping the year’s most fun holiday. In fact, candy and costumes are flying off the shelves. HookLogic, a New York-based performance marketing platform, is tuned in to the research folks are doing for the national masquerade. Aggregating data from U.S. consumer searches and retailers like WalMart, Target, PeaPod and Fresh Direct, HookLogic has released a report on the leading costumes and candies of the spooking season.

Costumes: Halloween of the Mouse

Halloween is the season of monsters, right? Werewolves, vampires, ghosts, slasher film stars? Zombies! Zombies are huge, still, right? I can’t open Facebook without seeing The Walking Dead all over the place.

Not anymore! Here are the Top 10 costumes searches being done in 2016.

  1. Disney
  2. Spiderman
  3. Deadpool
  4. Descendents
  5. Light Saber
  6. Cinderella
  7. Ariel
  8. The Flash
  9. Stormtrooper
  10. firefighter/fireman

When you consider that Marvel and Star Wars are also owned by Disney, that entire list belongs to The House of Mouse except The Flash (DC, owned by Warner Bros.) and the fireman at the bottom.

Disney Fire Department
9 out of 10 ain’t bad.

I didn’t realize just how complete Disney’s pop culture domination had become until I saw that list. It’s hard to escape the fact that Disney is winning at the box office, but now they’ve got Halloween too.That’s a strong brand.

Candy: The Sweet Tradition

Unlike costumes, the list of leading candies doesn’t look much different than the stuff I used to get when I went trick or treating as a greedy teenager.

  1. M & M
  2. Hershey
  3. Reeses
  4. Skittles
  5. Snickers
  6. Ghirardelli
  7. Twizzlers
  8. Lindt
  9. Kisses
  10. Twix
  11. Dum Dums
  12. Orbit
  13. Nerds
  14. Pez
  15. Lifesavers
  16. Airheads
  17. Trident
  18. Smarties
  19. Altoids
  20. Brookside
  21. Pocky
  22. Cadbury
  23. Haribo
  24. Sixlets
  25. Werthers
  26. Toblerone
  27. Payday
  28. Brachs
  29. Warheads
  30. Milka
  31. Mars
  32. Wonka
  33. Rolos
  34. Kitkat
  35. Trolli
  36. Lindor
  37. Whoppers
  38. Crunch
  39. Ferrero
  40. Sweetarts

Next year, I fully expect Disney to launch its own line of confectionery.

Takeaways

What does this mean to us as marketers?

  • Disney’s winning everything; monsters are no match for family entertainment.
  • People want to wear what’s hot, but eat the old faves.
  • And for the love of Jack O’ Lantern, let Santa sleep till Thanksgiving.