- Bud Light has promised to debut an Area 51-themed special limited edition label if the announcement tweet is retweeted at least 51,000 times, according to materials shared with Marketing Dive. The push is a response to "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us," a Facebook event that has gone viral.
- In addition, the brand has offered free beer to aliens that escape Area 51 during the event, which is scheduled for Sep. 20.
- The brand did make it clear, however, that it is not a sponsor of the Area 51 raid. The idea for a citizens' raid on the top-secret military compound — the reputed site of recovered alien vehicles and maybe dead or living aliens themselves — began in an Area 51 Facebook group.
The Area 51-themed push by Bud Light is a clever way to hitch its brand to a viral sensation. While the event and much of its support is satirical, it has taken the internet by storm; at press time, 1.7 million people have indicated they are going to the "raid," with another 1.3 million interested in the event.
Some news outlets have downplayed the joking, satirical nature of the event, and the U.S. Air Force has warned against the event. Bud Light's attempt to make light of the event by offering free beer to aliens and a special label appears to be playing along with the joke, and could help it with the likely younger consumers that have made the event go viral.
Asking for retweets could help Bud Light engage millennials on Twitter that are in on the joke. Plus, 51,000 retweets is a comparatively easy goal that ensure that the Area 51 labels become a reality (the announcement already has nearly 27,000 retweets).
But this effort is not without risk. If even a fraction of the people who signed the Facebook petition actually go to the site and attempt to enter Area 51, no one knows how the military will react. The satirical event could easily turn into something more serious, making Bud Light's push to capitalize on the meme backfire.
The Area 51 push is Bud Light's latest effort to engage younger consumers. The brand last month updated its "Real Men of Genius" commercial series, launching an "Internet Heroes of Genius" series that includes "Person Still Using Their Middle School Email," "Person Who Accidentally Went Viral," "Corporate Social Media Manager," "Snapchat Lens Creator" and more.