'I have to sell beer, not sell a meme': Miller Lite eviscerates Bud Light's viral 'Dilly Dilly' campaign

YouTube/Bud LightBud Light’s ‘Dilly Dilly’ campaign went viral.
  • A Miller Lite marketing exec slammed Bud Light’s “Dilly Dilly” campaign in a recent interview.
  • “I get a ton of people saying, ‘Are you going to do something like Dilly Dilly?’ And I’m like ‘No, I have to sell beer, not sell a meme,'” Greg Butler told AdAge.
  • Bud Light has struggled to remain relevant in recent years, but “Dilly Dilly” managed to become a viral hit for the brand.

As Bud Light struggles to attract millennial and Gen Z drinkers, a Miller Lite executive slammed the brand’s viral “Dilly Dilly” campaign in a recent interview.

“I get a ton of people saying, ‘Are you going to do something like Dilly Dilly?’ And I’m like ‘No, I have to sell beer, not sell a meme,'” Greg Butler, who oversees marketing for Miller Lite, said in an interview with AdAge.

“‘Dilly Dilly’ has become a new phrase for cheersing, but it’s actually not driving Bud Light volume,” Butler continued. “My job is actually not to sell culture, it’s actually to sell beer. And the reality is it’s not selling beer.”

Bud Light’s sales have slumped in recent years as customers increasingly gravitate towards wine and spirits, as well as craft beer.

However, the “Dilly Dilly” campaign has represented an impressive return to relevance for the brand, at least from a marketing viewpoint. The catchphrase went viral, thanks in part to its constant appearances during commercial breaks in NFL and college football games.

“I think that one of the proofs of success, nowadays, from a cultural standpoint, is when you go to Amazon and you don’t do anything, there are people already selling t-shirts,” Anheuser-Busch InBev Chief Marketing Officer Miguel Patricio told Business Insider.

“Two weeks ago, I went on Amazon,” Patricio continued. “There were like ten different types of ‘Dilly Dilly’ t-shirts. I said ‘Yes! That’s it!’ It becomes a cultural currency.”

The question is whether cultural currency can translate into real sales for a brand that could use the boost.

Bud Light’s parent company, AB InBev, will report earnings for the most recent quarter on Thursday, proving whether Butler is right or wrong. AB InBev did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.