As part of an advertising campaign for Bud Light, Anheuser-Busch has taken over a Colorado town called Crested Butte for use as the setting for an imagined new town called “Whatever Town USA.” While the campaign might seem light-hearted and silly, many of the residents of Crested Butte are very upset with the festival. Parts of Crested Butte have divided up into groups of those in favor of the “Whatever Town” campaign and those wishing the Bud Light people would just leave their town alone.
Crested Butte is a relatively small town in the mountains found 200 miles southwest of Denver Colorado. Local Denver News reported on Anheuser-Busch’s transformation of Crested Butte, claiming that the Bud Light festival has taken over the entire downtown area this weekend. The “Whatever Town” festival has painted the entire main strip of Elk Avenue blue from curb to curb. A giant “Welcome to Whatever” neon sign has been set up in the middle of Crested Butte.
Originally, the project was meant to be kept a secret, but the people of Crested Butte caught on quickly when all the changes started happening. Last week, the town council approved Bud Light’s permit, offering $500,000 to transform Crested Butte into “Whatever,” a decision that made many citizens unhappy. Other citizens who may have approved of the campaign soon became upset when Bud Light ran out of wrist bands that allowed them to visit the festival, while more than 1,000 outside Bud Light fans were still getting wrist bands to be flown into Crested Butte as pretend citizens of “Whatever,” according to The Denver Post.
“Most folks I can tell you, even if they were concerned about the event or expressed opposition to it, we’ve seen them come in and get the wrist bands to participate in the event and at a minimum they are out here watching as this comes together,” said the mayor of Crested Butte, Aaron Huckstep, according to 9 News.
Some citizens of Crested Butte have gone as far as to revolt to show their opposition to the project, tearing down Bud Light fences and writing in their complaints.
“We’re not an amusement park with a citizenry to be divided into classes to suit Bud Light’s marketing goals while OUR government is bought off,” said one angry resident. “We’re a REAL town.”
While many citizens continue to be outraged by the “Whatever Town” takeover, the mayor remains convinced that the campaign is doing good for the town of Crested Butte. Huckstep claims he has no regrets.
“No one here has pulled off an event like this including the organizers themselves, and the town obviously, so we’re doing the best we can,” said the mayor. “[The festival] sounded like a good time, I mean, we like to party here in Crested Butte. But I’m going to do as much as they let me get away with… We’re getting a lot of exposure and a lot of mentions.