With Bud Light’s Dylan Mulvaney debacle still reverberating across the industry, PrideAM is calling on beer brands to publicly declare their support for the 2SLGBTQ+ community in a campaign launched Wednesday.
Taking inspiration from the iconic gay rights slogan “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it,” the “Your Beer is Queer” campaign asks beer brands and brewers to publicly support the 2SLGBTQ+ community by saying their beer is queer. All beer brands have to do is send an email asking to be added to the list at YourBeerIsQueer.com, said Scott Knox, founder of PrideAM (Pride in Advertising & Marketing), as well as president and CEO of the ICA.
There are also creative assets to raise awareness, along with a call for 2SLGBTQ+ industry professionals to “raise a glass against hate” and help amplify the conversation on social, using the hashtag #YourBeerIsQueer.
“What will be interesting is which brands are happy to acknowledge that their beer is queer,” he said. “And acknowledge that they’ve spent decades rolling around in our community and our Pride—taking the money, spending the money, being part of it, claiming to be inclusive. Okay, now take the next step and declare that publicly.”
“Your beer is queer” comes just weeks after Bud Light worked with transgender creator Dylan Mulvaney on a seemingly innocuous influencer campaign that sparked outrage among a certain kind of consumer—the kind that machine guns cases of beer to demonstrate their anger, for example.
As calls for a boycott grew, rather than affirm its support for Mulvaney, AB InBev awkwardly backpedaled, and appeared more interested in making amends with anti-LGBTQ+ and transphobic critics and consumers than standing by Mulvaney as she was attacked online.
While the significant drop in Bud Light sales that followed was widely attributed to the anti-trans backlash, Knox said he “categorically disagrees” with that conclusion. “It was the sitting on the fence in response that caused the problem,” he said. Some people were angry about Bud Light working with Mulvaney, but the entire 2SLGBTQ+ community—and Mulvaney herself—felt abandoned by the brewer.
“And of course, those people who want to see brands with purpose—not just rainbow washing or toe-dipping in diversity—will have spotted that too, and gone ‘Oh my God, that’s really ugly AB InBev. No, we’re not buying this product anymore either.”
Budweiser sponsored Toronto Pride last month and is sponsoring Montreal Pride next month, he said. If it wants to benefit from the 2SLGBTQ+ community at those events, it should also stand by its side when someone like Mulvaney comes under attack. That’s the intent of “Your Beer is Queer.”
“Let’s clear up once and for all,” said Knox. “You’re either in our communities because you genuinely want to be here… Or we’re going to start to really call you out.”
The campaign creative from Halifax agency Shortstop uses real advertising to create a 30-second ad showing how beers have supported the 2SLGBTQ+ community in the past, while familiar beer brand elements were used to create a rainbow flag for a digital shareable.
“Bars and nightclubs have long been gathering spaces for our community to connect, mobilize, and socialize,” said Sam Archibald, creative director at Shortstop. “Beer has always been a part of that environment, but social media and improved visibility for the community have brought these efforts to the forefront of culture. It’s a simple fact that beer is queer, whether you like it or not.”