The hashtag #BudweiserÂ was trending on Twitter for the last two weeks after a report surfaced online, claiming that anÂ employeeÂ of theÂ beerÂ manufacturing company had revealed he has beenÂ peeingÂ into beer tanksÂ for the last 12 years.
It was initially posted by a website âÂ foolishhumour.comÂ as a comical meme with the sole purpose of entertainment. But as soon as it surfaced online on Twitter, it did not take much time for the brand to become a prey of âfake newsâ.
Later, multiple publishers clarified the news. However, the brand is yet to comment on the social media buzz created by these fictitious articles.
But should the brand be bothered about such news?
Harish Bijoor, Brand Guru and Founder,Â Harish Bijoor Consults,Â said fake news of this kind does its damage. âWhen brands become big images, people like to rile those images. Budweiser has gone through one such,â he said.
Depending on the nature of the fake news and quality of production involved, Ramesh Narayan, Founder ofÂ Canco Advertising, suggested that brands should definitely bother about such fake news.
Jagdeep Kapoor, Founder Chairman and Managing Director of Samsika Marketing Consultants, said, âBrands must be very careful about their reputation and their brand equity. Brands can make positive news through good work but must avoid fake, negative news because it will hurt the brand. Fake news hurts deeply at the heart of the brand and reduces its credibility. And if it is a food and beverage brand, it hurts more due to it being âingested.â This fake news is difficult to be digested by consumers. It could lead to permanent damage.Â Hence it needs to be nipped in the âbudâ.â
He suggested that transparency and immediate clarification and communication can be a starting point. Further, showing the safe and hygienic manufacturing process to consumers could be reassuring. This could be done through mass media and visits to the brewery.
Narayan said Budweiser has built such an imposing image that one would no doubt take such fake news with a bag full of salt.Â
Bijoor said a simple loud denial is enough to quell such viral posts for the brand.
Apart from this, multiple brands, including ITC, Kalyan Jewellers, PepsiCo and Mondelez, fallen prey to the same ârealmâ of fake news in recent years.