- Michelob Ultra will spend $100 million over the next five years to increase visibility for women's sports, per a press release. As part of the effort, it will represent female and male athletes equally in all advertising creative and across its Team Ultra talent and influencer roster.
- The Anheuser-Busch beer brand will also allocate half of its lifestyle media inventory on content about female athletes and women's sports by 2025. Timed to the initiative is a commercial featuring female athletes Nneka Ogwumike, CeCe Telfer and Andraya Carter.
- The initiative seeks to help female athletes achieve the same level of coverage in media as part of the push for equal pay. The brand will also encourage people to hit "save" on women's sports highlights on social media as part of the "Save It, See It" campaign.
Michelob Ultra's latest sports-related play is a purpose-driven effort in support of gender equality in sports. The $100 million commitment and variety of initiatives could help the Anheuser-Busch beer brand be seen as working toward tangible change, as brands seek to avoid "woke-washing" in their purposeful marketing.
The brand is starting internally by bringing equal gender representation to its advertising creative, influencer roster and lifestyle media inventory. These moves — and its "See It, Save It" social media push — are designed to give female athletes a bigger spotlight as they fight for equal pay.
"Michelob Ultra is proud to be a longtime partner of female athletes and organizations, and as a leader in both the beer and sports marketing industries, there's so much more we can do to help support equal pay when it comes to women's sports," Ricardo Marques, the brand's vice president of marketing, said in a press release. "We need to set the example, and the time for equality has always been now. Our commitment demonstrates Michelob Ultra's core belief that female athletes deserve an equal experience, whether they're on the court, in the newsroom or on our TV screens."
Previously, the brand became the official beer sponsor of the WNBA and signed athletes including Serena Williams and Alex Morgan to its influencer roster. Partnerships with WNBPA union President Nneka Ogwumike, LGBTQ advocate CeCe Telfer and basketball analyst Andraya Carter — who appear in the brand's latest ad — can help the brand connect with other audiences.
Other brands have worked to achieve gender equality in sports and society at large. P&G's Always launched a campaign with Walmart to urge people to help girls stay in sports as part of their personal growth, while its sister brand Secret last year partnered with Serena Williams, donating $1 million to women's and girls' empowerment efforts. These initiatives require follow-up, however; while Nike has celebrated female athletes in its ads, it has also faced public scrutiny with how it treats women.