Bud Light takes an intersectional approach to Pride

Drag queens strip away the makeup to discuss the through-line between the fight for LGBTQ equality and against anti-Black racism.

Bud Light

Protests against anti-Black racism across the globe in June saw many within the LGBTQ+ community, and their allies, holding signs that proclaimed “the first Pride was a riot” and reminding us that the queer rights movement exists, in part, due to the efforts of Black trans activists in the 1960s.

The convergence of the Black Lives Matter movement and the contributions of Black people in the LGBTQ+ community is at the forefront of people’s minds, which is one reason Bud Light decided to make it the core messaging behind its new Pride campaign.

In a new creative spot by agency Anomaly, three drag queens – Jada Shada Hudson, Devine Darlin and RuPaul’s Drag Race finalist Brooks Lynn Hytes – are shown “de-dragging” while speaking to the importance of using this year’s Pride to reflect and stand up against racism. While slowly peeling off jewellery, hair and make-up, they reveal their true selves, a basic human right that many in some countries do not have.

The queens end the one-minute video by calling on Canadians to support Rainbow Railroad, which has helped hundreds of LGBTQ+ people escape state-sponsored violence and persecution around the world, in addition to staying committed to the work that needs to be done at home.

“We wanted to use drag queens to tell the stories of how [Bud Light] is helping the community,” says Laura Rowan, Anomaly’s CSO. “Drag queen storytelling is a very popular activity in the queer community… and I think it’s been able to bring the queer community to the masses and tell the stories of the history of Pride in a very compelling way.”

Rowan says this is the second year Bud Light has supported Rainbow Railroad during Pride, but it’s the first year that the brand is more overtly promoting its partnership and contributions, which includes a $100,000 donation to the non-profit. “[Bud Light] wanted to be a lot more forward-facing and [have Rainbow Railroad] be a part of the story, given that the work that they do is so profound,” she says.

Natalie Lucas, director of marketing for the light beer portfolio at Labatt Breweries of Canada, adds that this year’s Pride work comes out of the brand’s year-old “made for all” positioning, which is led out of Canada and focused on the brand’s efforts in taking a progressive stance when it comes to acceptance of gender identity, sexual orientation and race. “What we want to communicate is that Bud Light makes everyone feel included,” she says. “We are a social brand inherently, and for people to have a good time, they need to feel like themselves.”

The brand’s commitment to inclusivity extends beyond Pride and into its annual music events, such as the Bud Light Dreams festival, where it looks to improve its representation of women, says Lucas. The brand has committed to having 50% representation of women in its DJ lineup, for example, and has also organized workshops for female DJs on things from “how to spin to filing your taxes,” she adds.

This year, Bud Light worked with Anomaly on creative, Vizeum on media, Veritas on PR and Mosaic on shopper marketing for its Pride campaign, which includes the return of limited edition rainbow-adorned cans (created by agency SGS), with a portion of the sales going to Rainbow Railroad. In addition, Bud has made a $100,000 donation split between Canadian Black Chamber and Black Legal Action Centre.