In a weird attempt by Budweiser to glom good Pride vibes, the brewer tweeted photos of Pride flag-inspired cups, with handy explanations of what the various colors represent—to which the ‘verse responded with a resounding nope. One post, aimed at explaining the asexual flag, is getting is getting special attention.
Am I dead? Is this hell? https://t.co/48fXTRFeZx
— Katie Herzog (@kittypurrzog) June 3, 2019
A tsunami of bemused outrage quickly followed…
— Mordecai Zoidberg (@9Mordecai) June 3, 2019
This is the best troll
— i.v.a.n.a. (@righteousmaid) June 3, 2019
During the month of June, social media is flooded with corporations’ ham-fisted attempts at queer solidarity, but some just come off as more cynical than others. Like when it’s Budweiser—a brand with a rich history of heteronormative, horny-man advertising campaigns—suddenly courting the sexless.
Of course, the phenomenon of companies random companies reaching out to the community during Pride Month is nothing new. Last year, “Taste the Rainbow” candy Skittles removed the rainbow from packaging in a strange attempt at solidarity. Regarding the beer giant, a writer for Study Breaks magazine notes, “Companies like Budweiser exploit Pride Month by sponsoring their products at gay festivals, but their allyhood doesn’t seem to be as strong any other month of the year. Normally, Budweiser is a brand that reinforces gender norms and heteronormativity, teaming up with Playboy during the Super Bowl and portraying straight, patriarchal advertisements.”
A Vox writer noted last year that Adidas, McDonald’s, J. Crew, Nike, Bloomingdale’s, and H&M were all baldly seeking Pride dollars, and wondered, “But what exactly are these stores and brands supporting? More important, what happens to the money we spend in these stores? Does brand support for LGBTQ issues have any real impact, or is it just, well, branding?”
In 2016, Bud Light advertised their wares in a promo featuring Amy Schumer and Seth Rogan at a gay wedding. At the time, a Slate writer said, “If I sound a touch jaded about something that is, on balance, probably a good thing, it’s because this particular synergistic matchup between a brand and LGBTQ rights feels even more cynical than normal. A Wall Street Journal piece about the ad notes that it will only air for one night in the queer-friendly markets of New York and California.”
As a 2017 Vice article points out, policy changes passed under the Obama administration such as legalized gay marriage and the expansion of trans rights has made it safer for companies to go after the LGBTQ market. And they’d better: “As LGBTQ acceptance increased, more companies were incentivized to target LGBTQ consumers, who in 2015 represented an estimated buying power of $917 billion, or 6.8% of total U.S. buying power.”
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