Canned cocktail ‘Gay Water’ aims to cash in on Bud Light’s mistakes

An entrepreneur launched a canned cocktail this week called “Gay Water” that’s aimed at LGBTQ drinkers — and said he’s looking to capitalize on Bud Light’s mistakes.

A consumer backlash has called for boycotts of Bud Light and other brands that have made progressive moves, proclaiming: “Go woke, go broke” — with disastrous results for Bud Light and its short-lived spokesperson, Dylan Mulvaney.

But “Gay Water” — which adopts a moniker the gay community has long given to the simple vodka and soda cocktail — has been inspired by the dustup to become even bolder about the audience it’s targeting, founder and CEO Spencer Hoddeson told The Post.

“This will probably change our marketing — and maybe even distribution — strategy,” Hoddeson said, referring to Bud Light’s ill-fated tie-up with Mulvaney, which has recently sent its sales tumbling nearly 25%.

“But not in the ways you may think,” Hoddeson added. “It will fuel us. We are a brand that is unafraid to fight for our community.”

Gay Water — a canned cocktail brand that plays on the gay community’s colloquialism for the vodka-and-soda mixed drink — launched on Wednesday and promises to understand its audience better than Bud Light.
Spencer Hoddeson/Instagram

The cans — which, upon launch, are currently being sold primarily online — are available in six- and 12-packs for $18.25 and $36.50, respectively. The six-packs only come in a single flavor — lime — while the 12-packs feature a mix of watermelon, lime, peach, and grapefruit.

The 30-year-old Hoddeson said he is using suggestive — albeit playful — messaging and imagery in Gay Water’s social media and website, including a provocative nod to the 12-ounce can’s 6.1-inch height.

“Our mission is to de-stigmatize the word ‘gay’ and start to create representation in spaces that traditionally don’t have queer-owned products, let alone products with the word ‘gay’ in their title,” Hoddeson told The Post.

“When was the last time you saw the word gay at a restaurant, bar, liquor store, or grocery store? The word ‘gay’ originally was defined as happy, and we’re hoping to remind folks of that by being present,” he added.

Founder Spencer Hoddeson, a gay man, says the brand is about reclaiming the word "gay" as a word that "just means happy."
Founder Spencer Hoddeson, a gay man, says the brand is about reclaiming the word “gay” as a word that “just means happy.”
Spencer Hoddeson/Instagram

As for Bud Light, “Their campaign lacked consistency,” Hoddeson said.

“If a brand wants to be a part of our community, the marketing plan needs to go beyond just a ‘campaign,’ and include a plan to work with the community all year round,” he added, seemingly referencing Bud Light’s response — or lack thereof — to the backlash.

Hoddeson told CNN Business that “the key issue” in the social media posts — which saw Mulvaney enjoying herself in a sudsy bathtub with a Bud Light on TikTok and promoting the beer’s March Madness offer in an Instagram video — “was the fact that they didn’t understand their core audience and know enough about them,” Hoddeson

To make matters worse, “they just went silent,” Hoddeson added.

Gay Water's branding is full of playful, suggestive messaging.
Gay Water’s branding is full of playful, suggestive messaging.

However supportive of the LGBTQ+ community, Hoddeson noted that he isn’t looking to create a brand engulfed by “rainbows and unicorns that you see all around Pride [month].”

“Part of the point of launching outside of Pride month is to reinforce the message that Gay Water is here to make the LGBTQ+ community more visible 365 days a year, not just a single month,” he said.

On social media, Hoddeson already boasts a community of thousands, with more than 60,400 followers on Instagram and another 120,000 on TikTok, where he shares comedic videos about dating.

According to CNN, Hoddeson used funds he earned from creating content — along with donations from friends and family — to fund his venture.

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