Okay, today I was going to write about something else – likely my latest Vue Weekly column – but an announcement from Labatt Canada has me so frustrated I have to vent it, lest I trash my upcoming Family Day weekend.
The subject of my ire is the release of Bud Light Platinum into the Canadian market. It was released last year in the U.S. and apparently was a huge hit. A number of you likely know about this beer already, and I knew it existed but since it was a U.S.-only product and, well, Bud Light, I didn’t pay much attention. But today I happened to actually take a moment to find out what this beer is. Big mistake, because now I am hot under the collar.
What has my dander up? It is not the beer itself, which I imagine is boring and fairly flavourless. It is, as usual, the marketing. I really believe they have taken inanity and in-credulousness to a new height/depth. I could grumble about the over-wrought, meaningless description of the beer: “Bud Light Platinum is a premium beer that delivers a sophisticated, light and slightly sweet taste, retaining the smoothness you expect from Bud Light. Some call it revolutionary. We call it Bud Light Platinum.” Sigh.
Or I could rail on about the pure stupidity of their latest process innovation boast: Platinum is supposed to be “triple-filtered”. Triple-filtered? Come on!
Or maybe the silly cobalt blue bottles and cans – which is not an issue, really, just rather pretentious.
But no, that is not what has my tails in a knot. It is far, far more basic and asinine than that. This tag line reveals it: “6% alc./vol. Strong beer with a light, easy-drinking taste”. Anyone else catch the problem?
It is a 6% alcohol beer called BUD LIGHT!!!
I feel my eyeballs are going to explode.
I have become rather stoic about breweries misrepresenting historic styles (such as calling pale lager an IPA), over-sellling the attributes of their beer, and generally bamboozling consumers about faddish new processes (microcarbonation, anyone?). But, this, I cannot tolerate.
Not only does it breach the very basics of logic – something cannot be both light and strong at the same time – it makes a mockery of the whole concept of “light beer” – namely alcohol-reduced beer for those concerned about calories, blood alcohol level, etc. There is nothing inherently wrong with light beer, and I understand and respect its role in the beer market. But Platinum is not a light beer!
This is the latest in examples demonstrating that ABInbev thinks consumers are stupid. They believe the public will blindly buy a product just because it has the powerful “Bud Light” brand on it. And maybe they will – who knows. But what was wrong with simply calling Bud Platinum? It isn’t that the Budweiser brand is any slouch.
Even leaving aside the inherent dangers of leading someone who doesn’t look at labels closely to think they are actually purchasing a LIGHT beer, the whole thing just seems so callously, openly cynical. What’s next? A 3.5% Extra Old Stock Malt Liquor?
On any other day, I would talk about the real motivations behind this decision, how it is responding to market pressures from both the discount, higher-alcohol segment and the premium lager segment, all the while trying to capitalize on Bud Light’s massively powerful branding, and so forth. But today I don’t feel like. Today I am just pissed off.