Budweiser UK faces backlash for advertising beer with Pride flags

A Budweiser UK campaign for Pride Month is using LGBTQ flags to advertise beer, and it’s inciting a wave of criticism across the internet.

The lager company announced its pro-LGBTQ Fly the Flag campaign on Friday, advertising beer cups with different colored flags on them to “celebrate the diversity within the LGBT+ community and Fly the Flag for everyone at the #PrideJubilee,” according to a tweeted announcement.

“Each person, and community, has different plights, fights and triumphs,” the announcement on Budweiser UK’s website says. “So this year, our Fly the Flag campaign, aims to make sure no community gets lost in the crowd. We are using our flag cups to celebrate and educate around different communities and their flags.”

Images shared to Twitter showed cups decorated with the rainbow gay Pride flag and other flags, including those that represent people who are transgender and asexual.

But the campaign was not well-received by some members of the LGBTQ community—nor by those who wish to ignore Pride Month altogether.

“Over the years, Prides around the country and probably the world have been so commercialized, it’s all about making money for companies and organisations,” user @Helenkeenan121 tweeted. “Saw it happening at London Pride many years ago. The reason I stopped going.”

“Got to be one of the worst marketing campaigns ever,” @pipphin tweeted. “You’d have thought brands would want to move away from ‘pink is for femininity, blue for masculinity’ bullshit.”

Others who opposed the campaign seemed to do so because they oppose LGBTQ representation.

Budweiser UK did not respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment. The company said it partnered with nine charities—including Bi Pride UK and Stonewall Diversity Champion—to make sure “this impact lasts beyond Pride.”

TransPALS, another one of the charities Budweiser partnered with, tweeted a response to criticism of the commercialization of Pride symbols from the LGBT community.

“We have taken the decision to enter into a partnership,” the organization tweeted. “This will provide much needed funding and support to the South [London] Trans community.”

The response to Budweiser UK’s campaign feeds into a larger conversation already dominating Pride Month this year about how brands have commercialized symbols and platforms from the LGBTQ community while not consistently supporting it.

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Katie Balevic

Katie Balevic

Katie Balevic is an editorial intern at the Daily Dot where she enjoys covering social justice issues and politics. Her previous work has appeared in the Daily Texan, the Victoria Advocate, and the Houston Defender.