When Ameneh was arrested for public intoxication on Halloween four years ago, she probably did not expect that her mistake would earn her a spot in a beer ad. But today, she is prominently featured in Budweiser’s new responsible drinking campaign.
The effort, from David Miami, shows mugshots of what appear to be people arrested in Halloween costumes, with the tagline “Don’t let Halloween haunt you forever. Drink Wiser.” Digital and out-of-home ads are running in New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago, cities that have high rates of drinking-related arrests on Halloween, according to a Budweiser spokesman.
The photos displayed in the campaign are not real mugshots, but the people featured in the campaign were actually arrested on or around Halloween, according to Budweiser. “Ameneh K”—her full last name is not given—was arrested on Oct. 31, 2015. In her recreated mug shot, she appears in a clown costume with a sullen expression.
Budweiser and David put out a casting call for people who were arrested during Halloween, according to a Bud spokesman. Then they cross-checked the candidates with public records and recreated their mugshots with cooperation from those arrested. One person—identified as “Sharyn W.” and wearing a cat costume—was arrested way back in 1991.
The Bud spokesman confirmed that those starring in the campaign were not wearing costumes when arrested. But the ads achieve the desired effect, which is to grab attention, because they look like actual mug shots.
“Halloween is a chance to escape reality by dressing up in costume for the night. The untold story however is that this escapism can go too far when people forget to drink responsibly,” Monica Rustgi, VP-marketing for Budweiser, said in a statement. “That’s why we worked with real people who were arrested on Halloween to remind others to drink and act responsibly this holiday.”