The brewing industry, which traditionally focused on themes of patriotism, sports and classic Americana, recently has witnessed a cultural and marketing shift with Bud Light’s recent foray into more progressive advertising by featuring transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney.
The campaign stirred controversy, resulting in a decline in sales for the nation’s top-selling beer brand.
Georgia entrepreneur Seth Weathers’s response to the campaign is both bold and reflective of a growing sentiment among some consumers. His “woke-free” beer company Ultra Right is launching a Real Women of America 2024 calendar. It is more than a product; it’s a statement. Featuring prominent conservative women, the calendar is a nod to traditional values and an explicit challenge to the progressive narratives in current marketing trends. Weathers emphasizes the importance of recognizing and celebrating “real” women, thereby taking a clear stand against what he perceives as the erasure of traditional gender roles.
In a statement to Fox News, Weathers said, “We’ve reached incredibly stupid times when it’s ‘controversial’ to say men can’t be women. This calendar will serve as a reminder: Men can never replace the beautiful women of America.”Weathers clarified that the Real Women of America calendar aims to celebrate traditional femininity, emphasizing his belief in the distinct nature of biological women “because there is no such thing as a transwoman.”
Weathers will donate 10% of the calendar’s sales to the Riley Gaines Center, supporting the preservation of women’s sports from ideologies he perceives as threatening the integrity of women’s athletics.
The calendar’s release on the company’s website comes at a time when Bud Light faces a sharp drop in sales. Mulvaney’s presence in the advertising campaign led to a dramatic decrease in Bud Light purchases, with some areas seeing a 30% reduction in bottled products and a 50% decrease in draught beer, according to reports. Bar owners and industry experts have echoed this sentiment, noting a significant shift in consumer preferences away from Bud Light.
The core of the issue lies in the perceived alienation of Bud Light’s traditional customer base. In an attempt to be inclusive, the brand inadvertently excluded many of its loyal consumers, including sports fans, working people and a significant portion of its female audience. This miscalculation in Bud Light’s marketing strategy has not only impacted sales but also sparked a wider debate on the role of brands in societal issues.
Meanwhile, Weathers’s Real Women of America calendar represents a broader cultural pushback. It’s a reminder of the traditional values and imagery once dominant in beer advertising — fast cars, patriotism and a celebration of conventional beauty standards. Through the calendar, Weathers aims to reclaim and redefine what his brand stands for, directly contrasting Bud Light’s approach.
The marketing strategies of Bud Light and Seth Weathers’ company illustrate a critical lesson in business and investor relations. Bud Light’s inclusive campaign, though well-intentioned, faced backlash and highlighted the risks of aligning a brand with social and political causes, potentially affecting investor confidence.
Weathers’s Real Women of America calendar taps into traditional values, showing how understanding and aligning with consumer expectations is crucial. This scenario underscores the importance of strategic marketing in shaping a brand’s public perception and its impact on business success and investor trust.