Too Far? Bud Light Turns Alcoholism Into a Game You Can Win

Gamification has been on my mind a lot this past week. And it’s not just me. It’s showing up everywhere. It’s in online education, your to do list, and now, it’s in your beer.

Gamification is the practice of adding game elements to your product or service to increase engagement and feedback. And BUD LIGHT has thrown their hat in the ring in a big way.

During yesterday’s (Week 2) NFL football games, I saw this commercial at least half-a-dozen times.

If you can’t watch the video for some reason, the point is this: every Bud Light bottle is a player in Bud Light’s Fantasy Football. Win at Bud Light Fantasy Football and win tickets to the Super Bowl!

Their press release provides the exciting details.

Each code represents a NFL team’s position, and the more bottle codes players collect, the more roster options they will have to choose from. Players will be required to replenish their starting teams weekly through their rosters or by entering new codes.

“With the Bud Light Fantasy Football League, we’ve taken traditional fantasy football and put our own spin on it to make it more accessible to all fans,” said Mike Sundet, vice president, Bud Light. “There are nearly limitless team combinations, and every Bud Light bottle represents a new roster option. It’s one more way for fans to stay connected to the NFL, and best of all, it offers the chance to take home bragging rights – and prizes – each week of the season.”

The Bud Light Fantasy Football League consists of 17 weeks of activity, corresponding with the 17 weeks of the NFL regular season. Rather than the head-to-head format seen in traditional fantasy leagues, FFL users will compete against an entire NFL team-specific division. Fans can play periodically – competing for more than 13,000 weekly prizes – or all season long. One Bud Light Fantasy Football League grand-prize winner will receive a trip for two to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. Additional divisional prizes include 32 trips for two to the 2013 Pro Bowl in Honolulu, 800 sets of tickets to NFL regular season games and Bud Light prize packs.

In addition to having nearly a billion specially marked bottles hitting store shelves this summer and fall, the Bud Light Fantasy Football League will be supported by custom TV creative throughout the season and retail activation.

Holy crap! Sounds like fun! Especially if you’re out of work and want to feel like you’re doing something with your day. I can’t think of anyway that applying coercive game mechanisms to drinking more alcohol could go wrong. Surely, this doesn’t encourage bingeing behavior.

But hold on, you’re saying. Stop being a prude. This is the new era of marketing. It’s hip AND responsible! They don’t let you enter an unlimited number of codes. They’re not trying to literally drown you in beer. That would be crazy. That would be irresponsible. That would encourage wild over-consumption. They would never do that.

And you would be right. They don’t do that.

No, they limit drinkers to inputting 30 codes per day.

See? Alcoholism has never been so fun!

What do you think? Is this gamification gone too far? Does this kind of marketing encourage responsible drinking or over-consumption? Is this a bridge too far?

Tell us in the comments!

6 comments on “Too Far? Bud Light Turns Alcoholism Into a Game You Can Win

  1. hmmm. My Bud Light just fumbled on the one yard line. So, would / could you just continue to drink until you found Rodgers or Brees?

    I see many problems with this. It’s promoting the mass consumption / binge drinking without regard to the health and safety of the, consumer. I wonder if their is a little “Please drink responsibly” tag at the bottom of the ad.

    I do agree with MoreWeight that Bud Light it is just an advertisement. But, I think they go too far.

  2. I am one of the last to jump on the “save the kids” bandwagon. But this does make me wonder if it doesn’t entice kids to want to play.

    The reasoning is simple: kids look up to athletes. Fantasy football is something that kids can play with their parents if their family is into football.

    When you can play a game with your favorite athletes that involves entering the code off of beer cans, I think it sends a certain message. It links gaming and fantasy football with drinking. And for a young mind, I think that can be a powerful message.

    I am really ambivalent on how I feel about this. Half of me thinks I’m over-reacting and the other half thinks this just feels a little shady.

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  4. You guys are ridiculous. If I’m gonna drink then thats my decision. Fantasy is fun but if you can get 12 codes by mail for 1$ and 12 bottles cost about 14$ their not encouraging binge drinking. Get a hobby and stop analyzing every little thing, spend your wasted time putting your kids in sports so they don’t end up being the kids without lunch money like you were. YES you are overreacting. Go Camping Fishing Hunting

  5. Drinking beer doesn’t mean you are an alcoholic.. Furthermore you don’t have to buy beer to get the codes, you can request them for free

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