All fun. All the time.
Whatever, USA was built on that promise. It didn’t take long to break.
We thought an endless supply of Bud Light and an “up for whatever” attitude would keep the monsters away.
Now we know better.
Soon after we opened the gates to our corporate Valhalla, outsiders arrived. Duplicitous men with dangerous ideas were handed press passes, and asked to “talk about their experiences on various social media platforms.” These soulless goons accepted their lanyards with a smile, but within minutes were calling Whatever, USA “as tasteless as the beer it’s promoting.”
I know the citizens of Whatever, USA. They’re decent, hard-working folks just trying to create highly sharable content and increase brand engagement with Bud Light. To think of their character being dragged through the mud makes my stomach turn.
For too long cowards have hidden behind keyboards, typing hideous lies, emboldened by sycophants tweeting support. I get why Bud Light’s social media team can’t respond. They’ve spent years positioning Bud Light as fun loving and inclusive, and going on the attack runs counter to that brand personality.
So it falls to me.
To serve justice in this town, I must conceal my identity and brand loyalties. I must shed my Bud Light pull string backpack and kick off my Bud-a-rita themed Crocs. In place of my glow-in-the-dark Bud Light Lime Ray Bans, I must wear a veil.
I must become the masked vigilante of Whatever, USA.
In my old life, the one I still lead by day, I was a brand ambassador for Bud Light. I tried to do good, but constantly found myself crushed by a system I couldn’t change from the inside. I worked with Bud Light’s social media team to deflect trolls, but couldn’t do anything to actually eliminate them. Unless the necessary steps were taken to keep these creeps off Bud Light’s feed, they’d keep coming back.
I’d have to get my hands dirty. If you want to tango with a troll, you have to descend into the darkness below their bridge.
Now I haunt the shadows where Bud Light’s enemies have taken up residence. I’m the dark angel interrupting their nightmares.
I have no style guide, no approved language.
If a stuck-up douchebag winces after a sip of Bud Light, I knock his teeth out. When someone questions the reason behind creating a branded utopia, I make sure it’s the last thing they see. If I see a guy wearing a Dogfish Head hat, I drop a full keg onto the snob from a hotel balcony.
It isn’t always pretty.
Neither is surgery. But how else do you remove a tumor?
When you become a vigilante, you don’t expect the citizens you’re protecting to understand. Listening to them call your alter ego a criminal is just part of the job description. When they label you a murderer, all you can do is take it on the chin.
Because that’s what a hero does.
That doesn’t make it easy. I saw one of our bloggers crying, claiming she was scared to go outside. I wanted to hug her tightly and tell her she had nothing to worry about as long as she continued to praise Bud Light. But I couldn’t risk my identity being revealed.
The fate of this city is more important than my pride.
The cops don’t get it either. They stopped by our office as a part of an “investigation” into a “string of homicides,” acting like I’m the bad guy. They’re probably on the take.
Lately, the trolls have retreated to their twitter accounts and blogs and national newspapers to claim Whatever, USA is a “Beer commercial turned into a slasher movie.” I guess the headline “Reluctant Hero Fights to Improve Bud Light’s Brand Equity” wouldn’t draw as many clicks.
Someday I hope to walk away. Hopefully it’s soon. I get no pleasure from this. It’s not that I want to drag a snide blogger riding a banana boat into the middle of the ocean and leave him there. I’m guided into those deep, shark infested waters by an unwavering moral compass and a commitment to the Bud Light ethos.
I dream that tranquility will return to Whatever, USA. We’ll be able to shotgun beers with no bitter aftertaste. We’ll walk the streets in neon tank tops, free from rolling eyes and whispered insults. I long for that day, when this town is only filled with people who are truly up for whatever.
Until then, I’ll do whatever it takes.