Beer Company Offers to Pay Off Students’ Debt

A massive amount of bottled beer on a conveyer belt.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

“Keep your epic college stories. Not your epic college debts.” That’s the tag-line of Natural Light’s commercials advertising their new contest, #NattyStories. The beer label, a brand under the Anheuser-Busch umbrella, is offering 25 prizes of $40,000 each to pay off student debt for a total pay-out of $1 million.

Beer, especially economy beer like Natural Light, is an iconic, or perhaps infamous aspect of the college experience.

“When we looked at Natural Light consumers and the role the brand plays in their lives, it felt like a no-brainer to have a conversation about student debt,” said Chelsea Phillips, vice-president of economy brands at Anheuser-Busch. “We want to use fun, Natty Light stories to make sure people are remembering the good times of college and not have it overshadowed by the debt they have to repay.”

The ad, which plays in ten regions across the country known for their party-school demographics, is a simple one: the above-mentioned tagline, an earnest voice-over, and home-video of that college antic trope—the dorm-hallway slip-n-slide. “College debt sucks. Natty’s here to help,” says the narrator to the familiar tones of Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Want to Wait.”

To enter, current or former students only have to post a video to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter about why they went to college, featuring at least a glimpse of Natty Light’s green pull-tab can, and tag it #NattyStories and #Contest. Entries can be made until May 6th, 2018, in time to announce all winners before the spring graduations (full rules available here.)

Debt.org estimates that the average debt burden for a student who graduated last year was just over $37,000. So a $40,000 prize would be just enough to put a 2018 graduate into the black as they start out in life. PR tool or genuine good-will gesture, it’s still a very well-aimed contest, and Anheuser-Busch should be commended for the idea.

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