Bud Light shook Twitter with its recent announcement that it is offering free beer to “any alien that makes it out” from the “Storm Area 51” raid. The beer company has promised to debut We Come In Peace, an Area 51-themed limited edition label in time for the spoof “Storm Area 51” event, which is scheduled for September 20.
Not surprisingly, just like the parody Facebook account, “Storm Area 51,” created by California resident, Matty Roberts, Bud Light’s tweet went viral, and has been retweeted more than 51,000 times, according to Marketing Dive. Considering that more than 1 million people have already RSVP’d to the spoof raid, Bud Light is certainly making a clever and bold move by stealing some hype from the social media moment.
The initiative provides an unscripted opportunity for the beer company to engage with younger audiences, such as millenials and the older segment of Gen Z’ers (of drinking age) on Twitter, where the parody of a parody campaign has been well received.
To avoid (any more) controversy, Bud Light made it clear that it’s not planning on sponsoring the event, as the U.S. Air Force has already issued a (real) warning for people who may not have been clued in that it’s a joke.
“We’d like to be the first brand to formally announce that we will not be sponsoring the Area 51 raid,” the company said in another tweet.
And yet, Bud Lights puts itself at risk because Area 51 is a military area and there is no guarantee things won’t get ugly if people who RSVP’d to a joke, actually show up. After all, police this week had to shut down an Adidas and Arizona pop-up in New York City due to safety concerns—though that was a real event. Even so, seasoned marketers should have anticipated the crowds.