Header Image: Bud Light rainbow bottles (Anheuser-Busch/PRNewswire)
It’s Pride month, men, so let’s have a toast to all things LGBT! How’s about we crack open a beer? Hey, Bud Light’s got a rainbow-covered bottle to help celebrate! How nice of them.
Some of you, however, don’t sound too impressed with the gesture. In fact, each year around this time there’s some moaning about how Pride Month’s getting too commercialized and pandering.
Let’s take these Bud Light bottles, for example. The bottles eschew the normal blue-colored aluminum with the rainbow colors, and they even replace the usual blurb in the crest of the logo with equality-inclusive language – and that’s great. Then June 30 rolls around and it’s back to the blue.
Anheuser-Busch, the makers of Bud Light, have pledged a dollar from each case sold to GLAAD during the month, up to $150,000. According to USA Today, Bud Light shipped 33.1 million barrels of the lager in 2017 – that’s equivalent to 228,390,000 cases. So when you do the math, keeping in mind a case of beer averages between $16-22 per state, $150,000 seems like a paltry sum. A “token” donation, if you will.
Over the years, many companies have released LGBT-targeted products with varying degrees of reported financial support. Burger King had LGBT-inclusive Whopper wrappers; sales of those sandwiches were donated to an in-house scholarship charity (though its focus is not entirely on LGBT students). Doritos gave away “rainbow” versions of their ranch chips in a promotion, but didn’t sell the product – in fact, those who wanted the chips were encouraged to make donations to charity themselves. Oreo posted an image of a cookie with six layers of creme colored to depict the flag solely as a message of support, but corporate parent Mondelez did not explicitly announce any financial support to equality organizations.
Clearly, these and other businesses “suit up” in pride regalia for one month, create colorful products for you to buy, or make freebies available through donations, and then keep mum about the cause the rest of the year.
But they’re businesses. That’s the nature of capitalism – reach out to as many groups as you can to sell your product. Getting your business is the ultimate goal. And remember… they could always not include you in their marketing. They could make no effort whatsoever to represent you in their marketing ploys, ignoring you through omission.
If we have cause for complaint at all, it’s for larger and more regular contributions to LGBT and human rights initiatives. These corporations can certainly afford it.
So lift that rainbow bottle in toast to it being 2019, where companies are more likely to have your back, and to the hope that support only strengthens in the years to come.