After the blow-up over Bud Light, the nation’s beer drinkers were apparently in no mood for a self-flagellating Miller Lite ad campaign apologizing for its history of scantily clad spokesmodels.
The Molson Coors brand found itself caught in the Bud Light backlash after conservative podcaster Joe Rogan ripped a newly resurfaced video from March featuring feminist comedian Ilana Glazer leading the Miller Lite anti-bikini reckoning.
“From Mesopotamia to the Middle Ages to Colonial America, women were the ones doing the brewing,” Ms. Glazer says in the video. “Centuries later, how did the industry pay homage to the founding mothers of beer? They put us in bikinis. Wow.”
In Miller Lite’s defense, the spot came out a month before Bud Light partnered with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, but the specter of America’s iconic beer brands pandering to the left has both flummoxed and outraged right-tilting America.
“Miller Lite, like Bud Light, chose to make a political statement instead of keeping their eye on the ball and providing a great product,” said Michael Seifert, CEO of PublicSq., told The Washington Times. “This felt again like people were being lectured to rather than sold to. And consumers are tired of being lectured.”
That oblivious messaging may be bad for Big Beer, but it’s been good for Mr. Seifert’s company. He said his PublicSq. app, which directs consumers to non-woke brands, has jumped in popularity since Bud Light became an object lesson in the perils of politically correct advertising.
“We have a large network of consumers, hundreds of thousands, that share their thoughts regularly on issues like this, and we heard from many,” Mr. Seifert said. “We had over 8,000 consumers sign up just on that day after the Miller Lite ad went viral again — sharing things like, ‘We’re just tired of the marketplace becoming so politicized over progressive ideas.’”
Few products are more closely identified with traditional men than beer, which may help explain why the Bud Light boycott has succeeded where past calls for conservative boycotts of products like M&M’s and companies such as Target and Keurig have not.
Bud Light sales have plunged since the company sent a personalized can to Mulvaney celebrating the TikTok celebrity’s “365 Days of Girlhood,” dropping nearly 25% year-over-year for the week ending May 13, according to Bump Williams Consulting and Nielsen IQ data cited by The New York Post.
In addition, Anheuser-Busch has informed wholesalers that it will buy back unsold expired cases, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Interestingly, Bud Light is not the first major beer company to partner with a transgender figure. In 2021, Michelob Ultra unveiled a $100 million, five-year campaign designed to “increase the visibility of female athletes” that showcased transgender track star CeCe Telfer.
In 2019, Telfer became the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA women’s title at the Division II track-and-field championships. Telfer was ruled ineligible to compete in the 2021 U.S. Olympic trials after the international track-and-field authority lowered its testosterone threshold for women’s events.
Like Bud Light, Miller Lite has been ripped by major conservative media figures such as Fox News Channel host Jesse Watters, who dinged the beer for its “anti-dude apology tour,” and podcaster Dave Rubin.
“Does that [video] make anyone want to drink Miller Lite beer?” asked Mr. Rubin. “Do you think one woman was watching it and [decided], ‘All right, they’re finally doing it my way, I’m going to drink Miller Lite beer’?”
The beer brouhahas have key differences. For one, Miller Lite’s campaign doesn’t involve transgender rights — Ms. Glazer identifies as queer, but she’s also married to a man and she recently had a baby. For another, complaints about ads that objectify women have been around since the second feminist wave in the 1970s.
The Miller Lite video urges anyone who has old posters or swag of the bikini models to send them in so that they can be turned into fertilizer for female farmers who grow hops, a campaign billed as “turning bad $#!T into good $#!T.”
It seems Miller Lite doesn’t understand their audience either. pic.twitter.com/TXGoEPYzbw— Mythinformed (@MythinformedMKE) May 15, 2023
Anheuser-Busch responded to the outcry over the Mulvaney partnership by airing a patriotic ad featuring the Clydesdales and placing on leave two executives. Meanwhile, Molson-Coors has defended its campaign.
“This video was about two things: worm poop and saying women shouldn’t be forced to mud wrestle in order to sell beer,” said Molson-Coors in a statement to media outlets. “Neither of these things should be remotely controversial and we hope beer drinkers can appreciate the humor (and ridiculousness) of this video from back in March.”
Those bikini ads from the 1990s would probably look out of date today. Even so, the preachy tone of the video rubbed some viewers the wrong way.
“I am adamantly opposed to the objectification of women, but the way Miller Lite communicated this advertisement is in our opinion inappropriate,” Mr. Seifert said. “It uses a lot of foul language and it’s pretty demeaning to anything their own company did before 2005. Overall, it’s tiresome because it’s yet another example of a company making their advertisements more about gender issues and social ideology than providing a quality product.”
Holy s***— SETH WEATHERS (@sethweathers) May 15, 2023
God is making it clear he’s real and he loves me
These types of blessing couldn’t happen otherwise@UltraRightBeer will be one of the biggest brands in the country pic.twitter.com/l1Jybjn46U
Popular alternative brands include Armed Forces Brewery, Conservative Dad’s Ultra Right Beer, and Mike Hess Brewery. The availability of the beer in each state depends on the company’s liquor license and state shipping laws.
If Ultra Right Beer doesn’t ring a bell, it’s because it launched just a month ago in response to the Bud Light flap by Seth Weathers, CEO of Freedom Speaks Up.
“I saw the Bud Light ad with Dylan Mulvaney, and I was talking with someone and I said, I wish I knew how to make beer because we need an alternative,” said Mr. Weathers in a video post. “Fun fact, I still don’t know how to make beer; however, I’ve hired people that do.”
The first cases of the “100% woke-free American beer” are scheduled to ship the week of June 12.
“This is not just a beer company, this is a movement,” Mr. Weathers said. “A movement of people who have had enough of the nonsense.”
• Valerie Richardson can be reached at email@example.com.
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