Good news, Anheuser-Busch InBev.
Sure, sales of Bud Light are still in the tank after an ad campaign with transgender “influencer” Dylan Mulvaney backfired spectacularly. Sure, the bleed has extended over to your brand’s other beers, as well.
And yes, you’ll be on the backpedal for your woke-tastic ad campaign for quite some time now — particularly since it came as Bud Light’s VP of marketing went on a podcast and implied the beer’s customer base had been drawn in by “fratty” ads and the company now wanted to project an image of “inclusivity.” That image has turned out to be pretty exclusive, since Bud Light proceeded to shed roughly a quarter of its sales.
So, yes, a lot of bad news in there. But fear not, soulless Belgian beverage conglomerate: Miller Lite is here to say “Hold my beer.”
See, it turns out that even before Bud Light got national notoriety for shooting itself in the foot with Dylan Mulvaney, Miller Lite –a brand produced by the Molson Coors brewing company — was getting woke, too. It just didn’t get noticed.
Miller Lite released a YouTube video in March — women’s history month — in which actress Ilana Glazer talks up how sorry the brand is for objectifying women in beer ads from the 1980s and 1990s, and what it’s doing to make amends. The video got deservedly little attention at the time, but the Bud Light fiasco has brought it to a head.
Glazer, best known for co-creating and co-starring in the über-lefty Comedy Central series “Broad City,” spends the minute-and-a-half of advertising excoriating the beer industry for putting the “founding mothers of beer” in skimpy swimwear, noting that “women were among the very first to brew beer ever, from Mesopotamia to the Middle Ages.”
Now, Glazer said, “Miller Lite is on a mission to clean up not just their s*** but the whole beer industry’s s***.” (The ad is titled “Bad $#!T to Good $#!T” — with the requisite bleeps here and there.)
“Miller Lite has been scouring the industry for all this s*** and buying it back so that we can turn it into good s*** for women brewers,” Glazer said, noting that Miller is turning old sexualized advertisements — posters and the like — into compost by shredding them and feeding the results to worms. The worms then poop out waste that’s given as fertilizer to women farmers who grow beer ingredients.
Will you boycott this company, too?
If you want to help, you can send in beer advertisements that you deem to be “bad s***” so that it can be turned into “good s***.”
I just spent my entire morning printing off screenshots from this ad and the Bud Light Dylan Mulvaney spot until my toner ran out, so I did my part — and so can you:
That’s it. That’s the campaign. And though the video predates the Dylan Mulvaney disaster, the controversy is likely to turn Miller Lite into Bud Light 2.0: Less filling, more moralizing, tastes like the word they kept bleeping out.
Perhaps you might not be surprised that the video didn’t quite make people on social media happy:
The fact I don’t drink sure is saving me a lot of what-to-boycott headaches. Get your bathtub gin recipes ready.
— Brad Williams (@6F0project) May 15, 2023
Investing in Coors as we speak.
— Jim Stinson (@jimstinson) May 15, 2023
Boycott #247, here we go!
— Abbey Kaiser (@abbeymkaiser) May 15, 2023
The comments on YouTube were just as brutal.
“Ah… perpetuating the stereotypical gender roles by acknowledging that in ancient times brewing was seen as ‘women’s work’ BECAUSE IT’S COOKING. Well done!” one user wrote.
“Repeatedly using the ‘S word’ reaches a level of sophistication not seen since Beavis and Butthead,” another wrote.
Another: “bud light is looking a bit lonely sitting on the shelf all by itself, don’t worry miller will be joining them very shortly.”
To be fair, this likely didn’t catch people’s attention because it doesn’t wade into the contentious transgender territory the Mulvaney campaign did, nor was there any Miller VP of marketing who went on a podcast to call those drawn in by its previous marketing attempts “fratty.”
However, Fox News producer Kyle Becker pointed out perfectly what was wrong with this campaign as attempt to woo women drinkers:
“My critique of this is not that Miller Lite is targeting women. It’s that it treats women like fragile victims,” he wrote. “It’s a vegan feminist lesbian’s idea of ‘female empowerment.’ Working women and moms are too busy getting things done to care about this garbage.
“Instead of this, show women working and getting all the things done they have to do and then having a refreshing beer after work while relaxing with their girlfriends. That’s not insulting and it’s more appealing.”
Instead of this, show women working and getting all the things done they have to do and then having a refreshing beer after work while relaxing with their girlfriends. That’s not insulting and it’s more appealing.
— Kyle Becker (@kylenabecker) May 15, 2023
This is another brewer with marketing that totally misses the mark in identifying its audience. The ad feels aimed at the 20-something liberal arts graduates who really believe what they hear at workplace seminars on equity at whatever tech firm they’re doing graphic design at.
Miller Lite drinkers are, well, not that.
Middle America, where these beers are by in large consumed, doesn’t care about this kind of thing. Working-class customers don’t need a gender studies class in their living room.
To them, most likely, the idea of feeding old beer bikini posters to worms so that they poop out fertilizer for women farmers seems like a “South Park” take on the Bud Light/Dylan Mulvaney campaign, not a literal “hold my beer” competitor to it. If anything, Miller is somewhat lucky that Bud Light took the spotlight off of this piece of, well, you know.
That could only last for so long, though; as they like to say, the internet is forever. That’s the good news, Anheuser-Busch InBev.
Now, you just need to unearth some dirt on Yuengling.