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.

WWTT? Back-to-School Supplies Have a New Purpose in PSA

Kids around the U.S. went back to school just a couple of weeks ago, trading in summer vacations for backpacks and notebooks. However, this year, the idea of back-to-school essentials has been turned on its head in a new PSA to make a point about school shootings and gun violence.

Kids around the U.S. went back to school just a couple of weeks ago, trading in summer vacations for backpacks and notebooks. And with the start of school of course comes with back-to-school shopping, picking out the essentials needed, while also trying to select items that show fellow students your personality. It’s supposed to be fun, and it can be … but this year, the idea of back-to-school essentials has been turned on its head in a new PSA to make a point about school shootings and gun violence.

The national nonprofit Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) was created by several family members whose loved ones were killed on Dec. 14, 2012 during a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The nonprofit’s mission, according to the organization is ” to prevent gun violence and other forms of violence and victimization BEFORE they can happen by creating a culture of engaged youth and adults committed to identifying, intervening, and getting help for individuals who might be at risk of hurting themselves or others.”

The nonprofit launched a new PSA on Sept. 18, titled “Back-to-School Essentials,” and as of 3:30 pm EST on Sept. 19 the video has more than 1.5 million views on YouTube. The tweet sharing the video, in full, has 11 million views, 172,000 likes, and 111,000 comments. The comments run the gamut of positive to negative, but it’s without a doubt that the campaign has people talking.

Below is the video, but I’m also going to share the content warning that SHP has included with both the YouTube and tweeted video: “This PSA contains graphic content related to school shootings & may be upsetting to some viewers. If you feel this subject matter may be difficult for you, you may choose not to watch.”

The video, which starts out as light-hearted and relatable to anyone who’s been a student, evolves into a nightmare that has been a reality for some school kids. While many students in the U.S. may not have experienced a full-fledged school shooter situation, these students do participate in active shooter drills and bomb threat drills.

On a personal note, I was a junior in high school when Columbine happened, and it was an event that changed schools in the U.S., possibly forever. I went from the seemingly normal life of a student who sometimes witnessed a school fight in the hallway to having to evacuate the building multiple times a month due to bomb threats or other drills. Thankfully nothing serious ever happened to my school, but school itself was definitely changed for me.

But back to the campaign: It was created by SHP and BBDO New York. According to the nonprofit, which also created the award-winning PSAs “Evan” and the Emmy-nominated “Point of View,” this campaign is its largest to date. SHP secured more than $2 million in donated media placements, and the campaign will include digital, OOH, print, and radio.

The campaign also supports SHP’s downloadable brochure, “Know the Signs,” highlighting the warning signs of a potential school shooting, and helping students and adults recognize them.

There were 22 school shootings in the 2018-2019 school year in the U.S. … it would be great to see that number drop, especially if due to the actions supported by SHP’s Know the Signs programs. But this becomes a bigger issue beyond school shootings and shifts into gun control, which is a major hotbed topic in the U.S.

The question is, will this PSA campaign rise above those debating gun control vs. 2nd Amendment rights, and help kids stay safe in schools? That’s a really tough question to ask. But I hope it helps move the needle toward making schools safer for kids, teachers, staff, and parents.

Marketers, tell me what you think about this campaign in the comments below!