Thought What Bud Light Did Was Bad? What Build-A-Bear Was Up To Was Far Worse


Say what you will about the recent to-do with transgender TikTokker Dylan Mulvaney and his endorsement deal with Bud Light, at least the influencer was peddling a product meant for those over the age of 21.

Now, granted, plenty of Bud Light finds its way into beer pong cups at college parties across the fruited plain and is consumed by those who haven’t reached legal age. After all, you can’t police every frat party, and vintage port doesn’t usually work well with undergrad budgets and/or irresponsible drinking games.

However, the salient point remains that Bud Light is theoretically meant to be consumed by those three years over the legal age of adulthood in the United States.

I mention all this not to excuse Anheuser-Busch’s doltish, farcical partnership with Mulvaney — nor the fact that, just weeks before said partnership went public, Bud Light’s VP of marketing went on a podcast and said she wanted to ditch the brand’s “fratty” image, which quickly led conservatives (beer-drinking and non-beer-drinking alike) to connect the dots regarding just how this happened.

No, I mention this solely because Bud Light and other alcoholic drinks are often referred to as “adult beverages,” meaning they’re marketed by adults to adults for consumption by adults. Adults. Remember that word regarding the use of woke transgender brand messaging in the advertising world — adults.

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Because before we started getting outraged over Dylan Mulvaney and Bud Light, this was happening:

“Remember: there’s absolutely no agenda to groom your kids,” the conservative commentator and activist Matt Walsh wrote in a March 30 Twitter post. “Don’t be ridiculous. On an unrelated note, @buildabear is selling a drag queen stuffed bear for children.”

Are you sick of companies pushing the liberal agenda?

Walsh — the man behind the documentary “What Is a Woman?” — included a picture in the tweet showing that the folks at the Build-A-Bear Workshop toy chain are partnering with the ultimate drag influencer, RuPaul, for a product definitely not meant to be consumed by stable adults.

Walsh went on to note that “I’m told that the bear is sold in a section of the site that’s ‘intended for 18+ shoppers.’ Except that they have the drag bear right on the front page, front and center, alongside the Easter merchandise.”

Now, first off, if you’re an adult and you have anything to do with the products from Build-A-Bear for your own use, get help. Build-A-Bear’s customer base remains young — and while I’m sure the marketing gurus working with the brand want to expand the consumer base to older folks, a la Lego, the way they’ve done it is to be edgy, not interesting.

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According to The National Desk, the bear is part of an adult line called “The Bear Cave” and it draws design inspiration from RuPaul’s forgettable anthem “Cover Girl.”

“‘Cover BEAR! Put the fur in your walk. Head to paw, let your whole body talk.’ She done already done had herses—and now you can have yourses with your very own RuPaul Bear!” the product description reads.

“Two iconic pop culture institutions join forces for this one-of-a-kind collector’s item made in tribute to the world’s most famous drag queen.”

This will set you back $56:

And while this is in the “adult” section, you get there by the usual method of confirming you’re 18+: Hitting a button.

This user noted that there’s a bit of, um, history regarding the term “bear” in the LGBT community. To keep things family-friendly, let’s just say it involves a slang term for hirsute men in the gay community.

Now, keep in mind other items in “The Bear Cave” aren’t exclusively LGBT-themed. In fact, most involve teddy bears in the act of drinking.

No Bud Light was spotted, although one wonders if Seth MacFarlane has considered suing Build-A-Bear for stealing the one original idea he’s had in his 20-plus-year career in Hollywood: The hard-drinking titular teddy bear from the movie “Ted.”

The other “adult bears” are either in slightly provocative clothing or holding smartphones with shirts saying “don’t text your ex.” Hee-larious.

The other “adult” bears involve licensed collaborations — bears that are supposed to be characters from “The Office,” “Star Wars,” etc. The point is that none of this is particularly well-kept from children, nor is the brand well-known for its semi-hidden line of dipsomaniac stuffed animals.

Perhaps I missed something, but I didn’t see a whole lot of promotion around the Build-A-Bear holding a wine glass and a bottle of “Ca-bear-net” [sic], wearing a shirt reading “It’s Wine O’Clock Somewhere.”

(Will we be able to order a special edition Build-A-Bear of her AA sponsor in two years’ time, when her plush family holds an intervention and convinces her that yes, while 8 a.m. her time might be “Wine O’Clock” in Mumbai, India, she’s in Raleigh North Carolina, and she’s only pouring a glass to ward off the shakes?)

However, while the bibulous Build-A-Bears didn’t get much publicity, the RuPaul collaboration did — and not only that, it wasn’t as if Build-A-Bear went out of its way to advertise it as product meant for adults. As Walsh’s tweet notes, the bear celebrating the most famous drag queen in the world was right next to the Easter stuff on Build-a-Bear’s homepage.

I’ll repeat that: The products that are meant to celebrate the holiest day in the Christian calendar, which commemorates mankind’s Savior rising from the dead after His crucifixion, thus fulfilling the Scriptures and providing the final atonement for human sin, was right next to a bear celebrating an individual who has dedicated his life to erasing the line between the gender the Creator made an individual as and the gender an individual wants to pretend to be.

This is the same misguided logic that guided the Bud Light campaign, albeit with more problematic undertones.

Bud Light’s VP of marketing said the quiet part out loud two weeks before the whole Dylan Mulvaney mess hit the fan: She didn’t like the people who were consuming her product and she wanted to change it up a bit.

From the early returns, it looks like she’s lost a lot of her brand’s current customers — and even if she’s playing the long game, I don’t think this controversy is going to induce upscale urban hipster joints to replace the standard mimosa or Bloody Mary with a Bud Light on the Sunday morning avocado toast brunch menu.

But she and her fellow Bud Lighters were trying to transition from one adult crowd to another adult crowd. Build-A-Bear, meanwhile, is apparently trying to transition from a place where you take your kids when you’re out of options on a rainy Saturday afternoon to a place where adults can also buy an overpriced, adult-themed bear that celebrates either drinking or LGBT themes.

And the easiest way they thought of doing it? A collaboration with a celebrity drag queen, of course. But the kids are obviously going to see this, because that’s Build-A-Bear’s current target audience.

A drag queen, definitionally, is a male who not only dresses as a female, but exaggerates sexualized feminine features for performance purposes. This is what the marketing people at Build-a-Bear chose to not only celebrate, but to promote — and they were damn well aware it wasn’t just going to be adults who saw the promotion.

The left gets angry when conservatives call this “grooming.” What, pray tell, would they otherwise call it?

Beer is for adults, teddy bears are for kids. You do the math.

Maybe someone from Balenciaga can help.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture