- In honor of International Women's Day today (March 8), Budweiser is reimagining some of the sexist ads it ran in the '50s and '60s to portray women in a more positive, independent light, the brewer announced in a news release.
- The campaign, done in partnership with #SeeHer, will appear online and in the print editions of major publications, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, with each publisher running unique revamped creative done by female illustrators.
- The Los Angeles Times ad, for example, takes vintage artwork where a woman is pouring her husband a beer while he works and changes it into an image where the same couple is completing a house project together. "Our country and culture have evolved over time — and advertising should reflect that," reads new ad copy running across the campaign. "Budweiser is committed to ensuring that our advertising represents men and women equally and helps eliminate gender bias."
Budweiser joins a growing movement of marketers that are actively reckoning with problematic advertising from their past in order to meet consumer demands for gender equality today. Categories like beer have historically targeted men almost exclusively with their marketing, with women often portrayed in subservient roles, but the AB InBev brand is taking International Women's Day as an opportunity to course-correct and build out its work with #SeeHer, an industry initiative with the goal of eliminating bias against women in advertising and media.
"As a leader in advertising, it's our responsibility to showcase women in more balanced and empowered roles," Monica Rustgi, VP of marketing for Budweiser, said in a statement. "We are proud to officially announce our long-term partnership with #SeeHer to better inform and evaluate our future creative."
Though calls for diversity and women's inclusion have risen steadily in the industry amid empowerment movements like Time's Up and #MeToo, there's still a lot of work to be done from brands. Only 61% of ads currently portray women positively, according to #SeeHer data Budweiser is integrating into the campaign ads.
Budweiser has recently sought to build out stronger messaging targeted at women elsewhere, including in sports. The brand has long marketed its beer around male-focused leagues, like the NFL in the U.S., but this week signed its first deal to sponsor women's professional soccer, according to The Drum. The brewer will be an official partner with the England Women's team, extending existing work with the Football Association.
Beyond any altruistic goals, Budweiser attempting to win the favor of more female consumers comes as sales for the brand and other core beers under parent company AB InBev have steadily declined in recent years amid a shift in consumer preferences and decline in on-premise consumption. Budweiser lost 35 basis points from its total beer market share in 2018, according to AB InBev's full-year results.