Bud Light stages a Pride Parade for one

Who: Budweiser Canada’s Bud Light brand, with Anomaly for strategy and creative, Salt for experiential, DraftLine YYZ for social, Veritas for PR and Vizeum for media.

What: “Bud Light Parade for One,” a new Pride-themed campaign with an emphasis on celebrating coming out. Bud Light is a longtime Pride sponsor, but with public Pride events cancelled for a second straight year, it is celebrating individual members within the LGBTQ+ community.

When & Where: The campaign lives primarily on Bud Light’s social channels and within a dedicated section on BudLight.ca, complemented by digital OOH in major markets, a wrapped streetcar on a route that passes through Toronto’s Gay Village neighbourhood, and a wrapped water taxi.

Why: Bud Light has supported Pride in Canada for more than 20 years, including the past eight years supporting Toronto Pride. Its focus this year is on creating awareness around a story it says was “largely untold” within the LGBTQ community: coming out.

For the majority of people in the LGBTQ+ community, coming out is not a positive experience or a celebration, said Anomaly’s Lexie Hoffmeyer, the copywriter on the project.

“We celebrate the pride of a community every year, why don’t we celebrate the pride of the individuals within it?” she said. “For Bud Light—as an inclusive brand and Pride partner—this year, in the absence of a physical Pride festival, it was the perfect opportunity to celebrate the individual pride of LGBTQ+ people who haven’t got to celebrate, or be celebrated, in two years.”

How: The campaign is anchored by a two-minute and 40-second video called “Parade for One,” posted to the BudLight.ca website and its YouTube channel. It show Marisa recounting their story about coming out, and because they were unable to celebrate coming out with other members of the LGBTQ+ community this year, Bud Light staged a personal parade featuring a DJ, and balloon covered floats for their friends and parents (see the video below).

In addition to the wrapped streetcar, the “Bud Light Pride Water Taxi” is providing free rides to Hanlan’s Point—a historic gathering spot for the city’s LGBTQ+ community—between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekends throughout June.

The beer brand is also providing multiple ways for allies to share messages of support to someone in the LGBTQ+ community from the dedicated Pride hub on its site, including a personalized shoutout on Instagram from a member of the drag queen community, writing a message on digital billboards in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, or sending them one of five personalized Giphy stickers.

Visitors to the site can also purchase “coming out gifts” in the form of customizable shirts and hats, with proceeds to Rainbow Railroad, a charity dedicated to helping people escape persecution in the more than 70 countries where it is illegal to be LGBTQ+. The organization has helped more than 800 people find a path to safety.

And we quote: “For many people within the LGBTQ+ community, coming out manifests itself as a challenge and a negative experience. As the brand [that’s] there during the biggest Pride celebrations, Bud Light wanted to communicate that when someone is brave enough to come out, they should be celebrated.” — Mike D’Agostini, director of marketing, Bud Light Canada

Chris Powell