In the Doghouse

In the Doghouse: A-B InBev Awarded for Targeting LGBT Community

March 17, 2014

ab bw

Anheuser-Busch InBev's tactical marketing to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community has really paid off. The National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame just inducted A-B InBev for, among other things, ads from the 1990's featuring a gay couple holding hands. It seems the corporation's savvy targeting of gays and lesbians as a niche market paid off, even in the sports arena, with a round of free PR for the brand. The Hall of Fame also lauds the company's 2013 gay marriage PR stunt. Capitalizing on a community's fight for civil rights to peddle an alcoholic beverage that causes high rates of alcohol-related harm is about as cynical as it gets. If there were a "Cynical Marketing Ploy Hall of Fame," A-B InBev would get top billing.

The NGLSHF mission is to "recognize both individuals and organizations whose achievements and efforts have enhanced sports and athletics for the LGBT community." Just how has A-B InBev's use of LGBT community and its symbols to sell Bud Light also enhanced sports and athletics? As far as the evidence goes, alcohol consumption and resulting harm continues to be a major health concern for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, especially LGBT and questioning youth. According to, LGBT populations have among the highest rates of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use.

If A-B InBev really cared about the health and well-being of LGBT people, it would stop marketing practices that directly contribute to their community being harmed by alcohol. Instead, it's getting increased credibility and visibility in the LGBT world, free press hits in the sports world, and more PR in general. With the damage its products cause and the intent behind its demographic targeting, A-B InBev belongs in an LGBT Public Health Hall of Shame.