March is Women’s History Month, and perhaps the last category one might expect to celebrate the occasion is one that has been known for objectifying women in its advertising.
In an attempt to make the industry “more inclusive,” Miller Lite is launching a campaign to turn its old, women-objectifying advertising into fertilizer for women hops growers and beer brewers. The campaign is themed, appropriately “Bad $#!T to Good $#!T.”
“The beer industry hasn’t given women the credit and recognition they deserve,” said Elizabeth Hitch, senior director of marketing for Miller Lite. “We can’t change the past, but we can help rectify the damage that was done, so we’re on a mission to clean up not only our mistakes, but the whole beer industry’s.”
The campaign asks consumers to send the company any of the past, sexist advertising they can find or may be hanging on to. The brand will then either recycle the material or turn it into compost, which will then be transformed into fertilizer that will be given to women-owned farms to grow hops that will be given to women-owned brewers. (The entire process is explained in a video featuring comedian and actor Ilana Glazer.) Material that can’t be recycled or composted will be disposed of by the brewer on the consumer’s behalf.
“I know women have been erased from building many industries from the ground up, and yet I was still surprised to learn that they were among the first beer brewers in history,” Glazer said in a statement. “After years of treating women like objects, the beer industry has an opportunity to shed more light on just how powerful women’s contribution has been.”
Recognizing the brand’s role in creating the toxic advertising in the first place, Miller Lite has been collecting its own – as well as the entire industry’s – outdated, sexist ads, displays and posters, Hitch said. “We have been buying and removing any piece we could find from the internet,” she said. “While we won’t disclose the spend, we can share that Miller Lite acquired hundreds of pieces of bad $#!T to create our first batches of fertilizer.”
The brand has also committed to donating more than five times the amount it spends acquiring the old ads to the Pink Boots Society, which supports women advancing their careers through brewing education and “to help them put more good S#!T into the world,” Hitch said.
The campaign is part of the brand’s larger efforts to make the beer industry more inclusive, Hitch said. Last year, the brand launched special edition cans featuring Mary Lisle, the country’s first known female brewer and celebrated the contributions women have made to the beer industry. “We will continue to ensure that we are creating a positive change for women in the beer industry,” Hitch said. “Beyond Women’s History Month, Miller Lite will continue to showcase women in brewing, both past, present, and future in upcoming marketing plans.”