'Gay-Friendly' Bud Light Ads
According to a May 5, 1999 article in Newsweek, the Anheuser-Busch brewing company has struck a public nerve with its new print ads for Bud Light depicting gay men holding hands. Phones at the company's St. Louis headquarters are ringing off the hook.
Two interesting things about all this ruckus:
- So far, the ad has only run in a small-circulation gay magazine in the St. Louis area, meaning that most of the people calling to express their views have never actually seen what they're opining about. [Update: As of late May 1999, the ad was also running nationally in Out magazine, a gay-oriented publication.]
- Very few people would know about it at all, but for the for-and-against propaganda campaigns being waged via forwarded email. I give you two examples:
In favor of the ad:
(Forwarded by Melissa Kramer, 04/29/99)
You may or may not be aware that Anheuser-Busch (Bud Light) has
created an ad depicting two men holding hands (first ever type
of ad) with the slogan, "Be yourself and make it a Bud Light." It is
a very welcome message ("be yourself") from a very major advertiser.
Hundreds of calls have been received by Bud Light from callers AGAINST this ad. No doubt the fundamentalist "christian" right organizations are already organizing phone trees to flood Bud with calls objecting to the ad.
PLEASE HELP! SUPPORT BUD LIGHT. TELL THEM THAT YOU APPLAUD THEIR TRIBUTE TO DIVERSITY.
CALL BUD LIGHT AT:
1-877-233-7725 to automatically register you approval of this campaign; Its easy and takes about 5 seconds.
Please call today ... and forward this email to your gay and gay-friendly family and friends.
Against the ad:
(Forwarded by Ed Dyer, 05/05/99)
Anheuser Busch has developed an advertising campaign that presents two "Bud"-drinking homosexual men in a hand-holding posture. A-B opened a toll-free number for people to call in and register their support of this ground-breaking "gay" campaign. Originally they did not have a number whereby someone could express opposition to it. However, so many called their toll-free customer service number to object that within 24 hours they had established a toll-free number for people to call if they disapprove of this new Bud Light commercial featuring the two homosexual men. The toll-free number to call is: 1-888-227-8783 We can let Anheuser Busch understand that pro-family Americans are terribly concerned about homosexual images coming into our homes through advertising campaigns. Call today and have your friends and family call as well!
Encourage Email friends to call, too. If A-B opens the way, we might well see other advertising come into our homes via TV, magazines, etc.? It is important that we all take action. You do not have to say anything.
When you reach the switch-board, a voice will say something like "By calling this number, you have registered your opposition to the A-B advertising campaign." That's all you have to do.
Comments: Yes, Anheuser-Busch really has created such an ad, and yes, the phone numbers listed in both messages are correct. If you'd like to register your views on the campaign sight-unseen, feel free to do so. [Update: as of July 1999, both toll-free numbers had been disconnected.]
Anheuser-Busch is being very tight-lipped about the whole affair, so we haven't been able to verify some of the statements made in these messages. For example, we don't know if the switchboards have actually been "flooded" with calls from fundamentalist Christians; nor do we know if it's true that "Originally they did not have a number whereby someone could express opposition to it."
We don't know if any of this information came from authentic sources. In any case, fear tactics are being used on both sides.
What everybody's most interested to know, of course, is what the tally is, pro and con. Unfortunately, the company ain't talking.