Bud Light's parent company Anheuser-Busch is taking over Crested Butte, Colo. as part of an advertising campaign and residents are annoyed. According to Fox News, Bud Light plans to turn Crested Butte into the fictional "Whatever" town as part of a major national ad campaign. The beer company plans to fence in the town and "literally paint it blue." The company will then fly in 1,000 winners of a social media campaign alongside 300 workers, VIPs, performers and special guests for an event set to take place between September 5 and 7.
Fences have already been installed for the event and residents are quite upset. One local tells Fox News that when she tried to take her son to the park, they could not access the bathroom or get water due to the fencing. Another resident tells the New York Times that the campaign is "vulgar and it's cheap." The Times writes that many are also angry at local government leaders for "approving a clandestine deal" to let Bud Light turn the town into an ad for a mere $500,000 (originally, Bud Light only offered $250,000). Former United States Senator Tim Wirth wrote in a letter to the town council: "The town government is not elected to turn the town into a weekend beer hall, using public resources and public property."
Local officials are arguing, however, that the event will bring "revenue and jobs." The town's annual budget is just $10 million, so the $500,000 from the event will be used "for a yet-to-be-determined capital project." Regardless, residents don't plan on accepting the event quietly: One reporter tweeted that locals opposed to the ad campaign "plan to hand out PBR." See images of the town's transformation below:
.@DJMany current status in #WhateverUSA: setting up a 2-story boombox. Come spin? http://t.co/3nj0taY5uP pic.twitter.com/r8G7vyH0Le— Bud Light (@budlight) September 5, 2014
Kinda funny actually. #crestedbutte #budlight pic.twitter.com/YZXVqQO3iJ— Joellen Fonken (@johellind) September 3, 2014
And the streets of #CrestedButte are turning Bud Light blue. Residents opposed to all this plan to hand out PBR. pic.twitter.com/NljPB2ZUuy— Nancy Lofholm (@nlofholm) September 3, 2014
· Bud Light's Takeover of a Town [Fox News]
· Town Becomes a Beer Ad [NYT]
· All Beer Coverage on Eater [-E-]