Imagine destroying an entire company to appease a group of people that comprise less than 1% of the population?
The campaign in question involved a television ad featuring a fictional medieval town where the king offers a giant barrel of Bud Light to anyone who can complete a set of challenges. One of the challenges involved the king’s favorite knight, Sir John, being tasked with retrieving a giant key from a room filled with people dressed in stereotypically feminine attire. The implication of the ad was that Sir John was being sent on a mission to “rescue” the key from a room full of transgender people, which understandably upset many members of the LGBTQ+ community.
As a result of the controversy, Anheuser-Busch has disavowed the ad and issued a public apology. However, this has not stopped some gay bars from taking matters into their own hands by boycotting Bud Light altogether. One such bar, Sidetrack, located in Chicago, posted a message on Instagram denouncing Anheuser-Busch and calling for a boycott of their products.
The post from Sidetrack read, “For 41 years, Side Track has strived to create an environment of inclusiveness and acceptance. Bud Light has not. Their recent transphobic marketing campaign is not only distasteful, it’s offensive. We will no longer carry Bud Light products.”
While it is unclear how widespread the boycott of Bud Light will be, it is clear that the company’s misstep has caused significant harm to their brand image. Anheuser-Busch’s attempts at damage control may not be enough to salvage their reputation with the LGBTQ+ community.
This incident serves as a reminder of the importance of sensitivity and inclusivity in marketing campaigns. Companies must be mindful of the potential impact their ads may have on marginalized communities and take steps to ensure that their messaging is not harmful or offensive.
In conclusion, Anheuser-Busch’s ill-advised marketing campaign has led to a backlash from the LGBTQ+ community and a boycott of Bud Light by some gay bars. The company has apologized for the ad, but it remains to be seen whether this will be enough to repair the damage to their reputation. This incident highlights the importance of inclusivity and sensitivity in marketing, and serves as a warning to other companies to be mindful of the potential impact of their messaging on marginalized communities.