With outrage brewing on social media over an apparent “woke” advertising campaign about the role of women in beer making throughout history, increased scrutiny is being placed on Miller Lite’s marketing department.
The beer brand, which announced the campaign on March 7 but has received a flood of criticism since Monday, is facing calls for a boycott from conservatives. Miller is the latest company to be targeted for supposedly “woke” marketing, and comparisons have been drawn between the campaign and the backlash Bud Light has received over a partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
Elizabeth Hitch, senior director of marketing, said that Miller Lite wanted to “recognize that without women, there would be no beer” for Women’s History Month, which takes place in March.
“We wanted to acknowledge the missteps in representation of women in beer advertising by cleaning up not just our s***, but the whole industry’s s*** while benefiting the future of women and beer,” added Hitch, who appears to have deleted her LinkedIn and Twitter profiles.
When asked if Hitch might take a leave of absence, Adam Collins, chief communications and corporate affairs officer of Molson Coors, Miller Lite’s parent company, told Newsweek: “Absolutely not. Period.
“People can take issue with our ads or our brands, but we won’t stand by as people personally attack our employees—especially given that these are company decisions, and are never made by one single person.”
In the Miller Lite ad, comedian Ilana Glazer discusses how women had historically been “the ones doing the brewing,” but of late the industry had paid homage to this by putting them “in bikinis.”
The company said when it announced the campaign that the beer industry had “alienated the very people who helped create it” with “outdated” and “sexist” advertising, including some that the company produced in the past. The commercial depicts Glazer dropping a Miller Lite poster featuring a scantily clad woman into a garbage can.
The company said it would be buying back its old marketing material, turning it into compost to make fertilizer so female farmers can produce more than 1,000 pounds of hops that would be given to 200 female brewers to make 330,000 beers.
One Twitter user described Hitch as Miller Lite’s version of Alissa Heinerscheid, vice president of marketing for Bud Light, one of the two who went on a leave of absence during the controversy over its partnership with Mulvaney. Another directly appealed to Gavin Hattersley, CEO of Molson Coors, to fire her.