Pabst Brewing Company rang in the New Year with a series of tweets that poked fun at the courageous among us who, in the midst of another wave of the pandemic, are participating in Dry January. This first tweet gives you enough to ASSess the tone of the tactic:
The Twitterverse took note, with some finding the tweet edgy and fun, and others viewing it as an ASSault against their sensibilities and a race to the BOTTOM. Pabst kept it going, at least for a couple of hours, before it deleted the entire string. For example, when one user mocked Pabst by posting “PBR or ass? Whats the difference?”, the beer company quickly posted two replies: "Ask your mom," followed immediately by "And dad." (For the record, I can ASSert with some confidence that neither my mother, nor my father, would have an opinion on the matter.)
What did Pabst say in reBUTTal? Naturally, the suits professed that they were a little embarASSed by the whole affair. In statements shared with various publications (here and here), Pabst "apologize[d] about the language and content of our recent tweets," which "were written in poor judgment by one of our associates" and do not "reflect the values of Pabst and our Associates."
So ... is this incident a blemish on the brand or does the old adage "all publicity is good publicity" apply? According to data published by Ad Age, the tweets resulted in a 63% increase in engagement, a 95% increase in search for Pabst and related content, and a 3% increase in visits to Pabst’s online properties. And, as Ad Age notes, "Pabst has a history of eschewing mainstream marketing tactics while appealing to hipsters and college students, allowing it to more easily get away with such low-brow humor than other brands."