Michel Doukeris, CEO of Anheuser-Busch, the beer behemoth behind brands like Bud Light, Budweiser, and Stella Artois, recently decided to throw a curveball into the public discourse. In an announcement that has sent eyebrows arching skyward and sparked a flurry of chatter on social media, Doukeris officially declared, “Yes, we’re Woke.”
Imagine the scene. It’s a casual Wednesday afternoon at the Anheuser-Busch headquarters, the hubbub of office chatter and clattering keyboards the only soundtrack. Suddenly, the CEO walks onto the makeshift stage for the quarterly company-wide meeting, clears his throat, and boldly states, “We’re woke.” The silence that followed was as thick as the head on a freshly poured draft beer.
Not to be outdone by Bud Light’s recent marketing misadventures, Doukeris took the reins and steered his company into uncharted territory. It’s as if he just couldn’t bear to see Bud Light alone in the controversial spotlight. Now, to be fair, Anheuser-Busch has long been known for their slightly left-of-center marketing tactics. Remember their Super Bowl ad in 2017 that subtly championed immigration? So, in some sense, the “woke” confession might not be as shocking as it initially seems.
Despite this, the proclamation has raised some fascinating questions. For instance, how does a company that primarily sells beer become ‘woke’? Are we going to see cans of Bud Light in plaid flannel shirts, sipping oat milk lattes, and debating the merits of postmodern literary theory? Or maybe Stella Artois will start attending poetry slams and discussing intersectionality over a soy-based, gluten-free dinner.
To be clear, no one is trying to argue that corporations shouldn’t be socially conscious or advocate for equality and inclusion. But when it comes to “wokeness”, it’s a term that is fraught with controversy and often polarizes more than it unifies.
There are those who argue that wokeness has devolved into a kind of performative spectacle, a virtue-signaling pageant where corporations get to dress up in the robes of social justice without actually doing much to effect substantial change. If that’s the case, then Doukeris’ announcement is little more than a PR strategy, a gambit designed to win the favor of socially conscious consumers while sidestepping the more challenging aspects of corporate responsibility.
On the other hand, there are those who will see Doukeris’ announcement as a brave, pioneering step towards corporate accountability and social responsibility. If Anheuser-Busch is truly committed to fostering a more equitable, inclusive society and is willing to back up their words with action, then more power to them. It’s just that past experience has made some consumers a tad cynical about the likelihood of such a scenario.
Meanwhile, the world watches and waits. Will other CEOs follow suit and declare their wokeness? Will we see the head of Toyota meditating on mindfulness and the interconnectedness of all beings? Or the boss of Apple admitting that, yes, they do enjoy a bit of yoga and holistic healing in their downtime?
Only time will tell. But for now, it seems that Anheuser-Busch has claimed the ‘woke’ mantle and is proudly wearing it for all to see. And in a strange, slightly surreal way, there’s a part of us that can’t help but raise a glass and say, “Cheers to that, Anheuser-Busch. May your journey into wokeness be as refreshing as a cold beer on a hot summer’s day.”
Note: This is SATIRE, not REAL NEWS.