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Should Brands Go Woke?

Warning: This episode might make you hungry, as Chik-fil-A, In-N-Out, McDonald’s and others get mentions. If you dare listen, however, you’ll get knowledge bombs on the trend of remote layoffs, how Hilton is turning happy workers into big profits and taking on AirBNB and whether or not employers are “going broke by going woke.” Google’s pay-per-click for job postings gets airtime too … imagine that. And chicken nuggets. Lots of talk about chicken nuggets.


Inro: Hide your kids. Lock the doors. You're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark. Buckle up, boys and girls. It's time for the Chad and Cheese Podcast.


Joel: Oh, yeah. Think email spam is bad now? MailChimp just integrated OpenAI's GPT tech into its software, and the ladders couldn't be happier. Hi kids, you're listening to the Chad and Cheese Podcast Does Recruitment Marketing. I'm your co-host, Joel Hormel Cheeseman.

Chad: I'm Chad Pass-Me-A-Budweiser Sowash.

Julie Calli: I always forget the name.


Chad: That's why you write them down.

Joel: How many shows have we done?

Julie Calli: I'm Julia I don't know why I'm on this show Calli.


Joel: Oh, my God. On this episode, remote layoffs, Hilton gets it, and Bud Light triggers conservatives. See what I did there? Let's do this. What's up, kids?

Chad: He's back from Vegas. So how'd it go? You had the family in tow. So did you take Jeremy to the Spearmint Rhino, or how'd it go?

Joel: Wow. You just went right there, didn't you? So we went to Vegas but I wouldn't say we went to Vegas. First day was Hoover Dam, second day was Grand Canyon, third day was Red Rocks hiking excursion, and it wasn't until the last day that we did sort of the strip, and the Stratosphere and the roller coaster at New York-New York, had good meals on the strip. Yeah, I didn't put my six-year-old at the blackjack table and headed to the Sportsbook or anything. It was a family vacation. It was most like family vacations, it was equal parts loving, laughing, engaging, and then equal parts, I wanna punch you in the throat and I wish you were dead, kind of thing.

Chad: Well, Cole being 16 and around that much sex, not to have access to it, that to me sounds like... That was not a good place.

Joel: Why would you go Spearmint Rhino with my six-year-old and then sexcapades with my 16-year-old?

Julie Calli: There's roller coasters.

Joel: This is what happens when I'm gone for a week. Chad stuffs all this in and it's gotta come out on the very first podcast recording that we do.

Chad: No, we've been talking about it all week. There's two podcasts we've been talking about this.


Joel: Yeah, yeah. So then now we're going to UNLEASH in Vegas in a couple of weeks. HR Tech's in Vegas, I'll be at Sherman. I might as well get a condo in Vegas at this point, we're gonna be there so often.

Chad: [chuckle] Cole can take care of it.

Joel: Yes, thank you for not bringing my daughter in to any of this, by the way. You do have some guard rails, which is nice.

Chad: Hey, I was a 16-year-old boy at one time. I know the hormones that are coursing through that kid's veins.

Joel: And you had a 13-year-old girl at one point, too, which is why you know not to bring that into the game.

Chad: That's exactly right. Yes. I would kill a motherfucker. [laughter]

Julie Calli: Well, here's a question, though. Did they enjoy it?

Joel: Parts of it. Like any family vacation. I think there was probably too much hiking, at one point.


Joel: It was probably too much in the car, at one point.

Chad: It sounds very Griswold.

Joel: There was probably like, it's too cold out here, at one point. We did hit Vegas in a cold front.

Chad: Well, welcome back.

Joel: My 16-year-old loves In-N-Outs, so we did that. And he loves Gordon Ramsey, so let's go to Gordon Ramsey's restaurant. So you kind of balance out everyone hoping to be happy. And, I don't know, we didn't kill each other, so that's saying something.

Chad: That is good. That is good. Yes, yes.

Julie Calli: It's important, because it's the impression that you leave on them. So when you say, "Hey, I have to go to this event for work in Vegas," they're like, "Oh, that long car ride to the Dam again." And they think that's what you're doing.


Joel: I don't think they think that's what I'm doing in Vegas. No. I don't think that's it. I don't think that's it.

Chad: Shout-out.

Joel: I'll go first, since we're talking about In-N-Out Burger and Gordon Ramsey. My first shout-out goes to Chick-fil-A.

Chad: [chuckle] Jesus, chicken.

Joel: Regardless of how you feel about their political views, their employees step up at some point. So, Sarah Massey's dog, Molly, was put down on January 27th of this year. On January 26th, the day before, Massey went to Chick-fil-A to get Molly her favorite meal, chicken nuggets. And whose favorite meal isn't chicken nuggets from Chick-fil-A? Anyway, when she got to the window to pay, the staff told her they "took care of it" and didn't charge her for it. Massey posted a video of herself feeding Molly the nuggets on Instagram and Chick-fil-A later sent her a personalized painting of Molly along with a note expressing their condolences. Massey was touched by Chick-fil-A's gesture and said it will always hold a special place in her heart. Who says employees can't make a difference? It was employees that noticed this was happening. It was the employees that alerted the HQ, and it was the employees that generated this beautiful portrait, as opposed to like, I don't know, a cow outfit or a Chick-fil-A bib.

Joel: I don't know what would typically go out. It was a custom gift.

Chad: Was the dog with Jesus, though? That's the question. [laughter]

Joel: It was cool.

Chad: In the painting, did they have the painting with Jesus and the dog? [laughter]

Joel: Taco Bell isn't doing this kind of shit. I'm not saying it's specific to Chick-fil-A but having solid employees that listen to customers and what's going on in their life makes a big difference and it made a big difference at this point.

Chad: It does.

Joel: So Chick-fil-A or not, employees make a difference, and I thought it was worth a shout-out to Chick-fil-A and Massey and her dog, Molly.

Julie Calli: Great story.

Joel: On this show.

Chad: Yeah, that's beautiful.

Joel: Chad, a man who loves dogs as much as you, that you're not touched by this is...

Chad: Nothing. I didn't say that I wasn't touched. I'm just thinking of the painting that's hanging over the mantle, with Jesus holding the dog while eating a Chick-fil-A sandwich.

Joel: I'm thinking like the dog is Jesus. Maybe it's like a last supper with the dog and they're eating nuggets.


Joel: That would have been awesome.

Chad: Oh my God. Okay, Julie. Shout-out. Chad, we gotta get out of that.

Joel: Yeah. Pull us out, Julie. Pull us out of this.

Julie Calli: Well, shout-out to Google for finally having these... The testing being done, they're not giving us much information about it right now, but Google job ads. Paid job ads on Google. We have been waiting for this for a long time. So shout-out to Google for finally making it possible.

Joel: And we've been predicting it for a long time. So we're finally glad that Google...

Julie Calli: Everybody's just been waiting. Now, yet?

Joel: Google stepped up.

Julie Calli: Is it now yet, is now the time?

Joel: Yeah, yeah.

[automated voice]

Chad: Yeah. I took a shot at it and I finally got it right. So that's my one prediction I'll probably get right this year. [laughter]

Joel: Yeah, yeah, and I think I made it three years ago. It was kind of obvious if they took this seriously they were gonna do it. I can't wait till like cost per click comes out, and cost, like when all the data comes out, that'll be fun. And if the data kicks a certain competitors ass, it will be really interesting to see where things go.

Chad: Yep.

Julie Calli: Provided it's a better experience.

Chad: Providing it's a better experience.

Julie Calli: Yes.

Chad: Shout-out to our friend Brett Marz over at BAMKO. That's right, he was a guest on the show. The name of the episode was called Marketing is Clueless. Brett, he's been selling and working with marketing for years, and he has finally gotten this epiphany: Hey, what the hell is going on, why aren't we treating our employees better so that our employees treat our customers better? The entire discussion was around that topic. It was amazing. We've got so many messages about that podcast, and so I appreciate it and shout-out to Brett.

Joel: And the compliments came from people who are usually the most critical of our episodes. So the fact that they were complimentary, I think, says a lot that you should check out that episode if marketing is important and recruiting is important to you. Julie, there's a birthday that you're celebrating.

Julie Calli: Yes.

Chad: Ooh, do they get rum from Plum? Oh, that's a question.

Julie Calli: Well, I'd love some rum from Plum. Well, happy anniversary to Recruitment Marketing. One year, we launched the site one year ago today. Thank you to our audience. We've spent the last year really listening to what resources, what can we provide to help better empower people in recruitment marketing and talent acquisition. As we're all going through transformation so fast, and things are changing so quickly, how can we help empower the people to make better change and advance the industry? Continuing to put out new articles and trends but what I'm really excited about is we're about to launch two new resources and experiences. One being a community for talent acquisition and recruitment marketing professionals. This community is free to use, and I believe is gonna create a way for people to be able to collaborate more on some of the biggest challenges we face.

Chad: Is it gonna be vetted?

Julie Calli: Yes. You do have to register with your authentic credentials and we are paying attention to who's coming into the community. So we want it to be a professional community, and that is a community that we're launching. But in addition to that we're also launching a marketplace to help people better understand the technologies, the solutions and the providers that are out there, so that we can build something that's really helpful for people to understand and find the right solutions.

Joel: Hell, yeah. And you can become part of that community if you're not already, at


Chad: Topics.

Joel: All right, let's talk remote layoffs.

Chad: Layoffs?

Joel: They're becoming increasingly common, as more and more companies allow their employees to work from home. McDonalds was in the news recently when they asked corporate employees who usually work from the office at least three days a week to do the job from home. The plan was to lay off hundreds of employees, and the company preferred to deliver its news virtually instead of face-to-face. The pros of such a move? Well, digesting the news in private, as well as the cost savings. The cons? There's no closure, and maybe a level of stress that's not healthy for workers. And how about the impact on recruitment, retention and the future of remote work? Chad, what is your take on the trend of remote layoffs?

Chad: So we're evolving our relationship to work in America. We've bought into this rugged individualism narrative hook, line and sinker. I know I did. I jumped in with both feet. Then the pandemic hit, and as people died around us, literally, we started re-evaluating life. Not work, but life. So it was also evident that companies had been bold-face lying to us every day about their inability to support remote work. So as we started working from home, in rather a quick and productive fashion, we started to think about how work would look on our terms. Right? So I don't see remote work changing. I see our relationship with work changing. I was listening to the Pivot podcast about a week or so ago, and Liz Hoffman was a guest. She's a journalist from Semaphore. And she told a story about our favorite DJ, David Solomon, CEO of Goldman Sachs, he said he was at a country club during the weekday and one of his workers strolled up and said hi after enjoying a day at the beach.

Chad: That interaction really pissed Solomon off. Why wasn't she at work, and what was he paying her for? This is the type of evolution that I'm talking about. Number one, the 40-hour work week was created in 1940 by Henry Ford, for manufacturing, not for desk jobs. Solomon is paying for results. Not so much... Solomon was also at the fucking country club. Right? So if you're getting all of what you're paying for, which is results, it shouldn't matter whether it's 10 hours, 20 hours, 40 hours, 60 hours. It all comes down to our relationship with work. And it has changed. The problem is we have guys like DJ Sol, who doesn't want it to change. They want it to be the 1940s, 1930s, they want it to be Henry Ford, and they want people at their desk. The problem is we're gonna see some flux. Some companies who need the best talents will go remote and they will get the best talents. But again, it's all about the job market, man. So I think it's here to stay. It's just going to expand and contract as the market does.

Joel: Yeah, you know, remote work, we've talked for a long time that it's gonna be messy.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: Companies are gonna figure it out, what's this look like? I think one of the sad... You mentioned evolution, I don't know if it's evolution or devolution, but the trend of laying people off in a non-face-to-face manner, that used to shock people. I remember stories of like, oh my God, they sent out an email to people or a text message, right? Now it's commonplace, and now we're talking about it being normal.

Julie Calli: Yeah.

Joel: There are pros to this. You get to get laid off on your own time, you get to do it from the comfort of your home. The fact that McDonalds would say, hey... They didn't say, people we're laying off, why don't you work from home for the rest of the week? And then they got laid off. Well, there's your cue. If you're told by the company to go work from home, you might get laid off. They're not the first. We talked about Google recently laid off thousands via email. Mark Zuckerberg announced plans of big cuts in a 2000-word memo to employees. Even Pepsi, a more traditional company is laying off people in a digital remote manner.

Chad: What about Indeed?

Joel: I think the sad part is...

Chad: Indeed, 2200 people.

Joel: Yeah. We're just, we're immune to it now. In fact, we're moving to like it's a preference. If I'm gonna get laid off, I'd rather be in my La-Z-Boy or enjoying a day at the park, whatever, than having to go to HR, be in a room with a table of five people, and signing papers and whatever else. I just think it's funny that we've moved from, holy shit, how can you lay people off in a non-face-to-face manner, to like, how could you lay people off looking at them and in a room with them? They should be alone in their house or apartment? It's crazy how quickly the world has moved from like, when you talk about serious things and you lay someone off, you look them in the eye and you have that face-to-face human connection. We've gone 180 from that. Aand whether it's good or not, it's a sign of the times, and it's the way things are gonna be, get used to them. It's a reaction or just evolution, I guess, of this remote work. We're gonna remote work, we might as a lay people off when they're at home and this is how we're gonna do it, and this is gonna be standard business practice from now on.

Julie Calli: This is an outcome of pandemic, right? That so many people were terminated in such a short period of time and had to do that remotely, where companies had to face that very quickly, right? They had to. So that's what forced change. Forced it. And then companies realized, wow, there is a way to execute on this. And some companies did it very poorly, so let's start with that, like the bar was pretty low when we first all adapted to that in Covid times. But then we've reemerged from that. Now, we over-hired for a while to fill that rise in demand, so a lot of companies are trying to level out now. So I don't call this really a decline. I call this a getting back to normal levels from my viewpoint of it. And now companies are saying, yes, this is actually a more effective way to manage this communication plan, with consistency, with process, to manage the experience, so that it's not parted out and handed it out into individual managers who might fub up the communication and not execute on that properly, which can create risk. So this is a better way from a corporate perspective to execute on something like that.

Julie Calli: But, wow, the little bait and switch of like, oh, you can work from home this week, and then find out, gee, you're laid off. Yeah, you're right; I'm with you on that, Joel. Now, if I were inside one of those organizations and someone said, "Oh, you can go ahead and work remote tomorrow,' I would pack up all the stuff on my desk, because I would be in complete fear that remote work now means potential to be terminated. So does that start to change the mindset of people, of, I need to be in the office or I might be on the chopping block?

Joel: Well, people are gonna start saying, "You're not getting fired, we want you to work from home this week because of whatever reason." One little story, side note, in terms of being laid off at work. Back in the days when I was writing Cheesehead, I got a scoop on some big layoff at Career Builder. And I posted it that night, and so that morning everyone at Career Builder sort of saw that post.

Chad: In the office.

Joel: They didn't start... Yeah, in the office. Everyone saw it, right? So it spread like wildfire, and then they didn't start the layoffs until 2 o'clock that afternoon. So they spent an entire morning at Career Builder of people speculating, are there gonna be layoffs, who's gonna be laid off? And I talked to an executive there that said, "You wouldn't believe how much money we lost in productivity because of that blog post." So if everyone was working from home, it wouldn't spread as quickly if something like that happened, you wouldn't lose so much productivity. So in a side note, companies, if everyone's at work, they lose productivity because all the gossip around who's getting laid off, maybe they can control it better when they're in a remote situation, anyway.

Julie Calli: Productivity, you're about to lay people off, what are you... Of course, you're gonna lose productivity. [laughter]

Joel: But do you know it or not, is the question. I don't know.

Chad: They throw that shit in the Slack channel, it's gonna be the same thing. Yeah. So take a look at what Indeed did, they laid off 2200 people but they had everybody come to a call, and then it took 10 minutes before they actually sent out an email to let the people know. So you're talking about your entire workforce being impacted during that time frame, so yeah. It's a figuring it out kind of a thing, and that's gonna be on the employer and the employee, you've gotta figure out what you want out of this. If you want to be one of those ladder climbers, that's awesome. You probably need to be in the office, you need to be... Like I used to, I was an hour early, I was... I stayed an hour late, I was the last one out of the office and I drove. I had a commute of an hour one way. But if you're not... It's one of those things where you really have to figure out what role you wanna play and what type of position you want, or does life matter more to you.

Julie Calli: Yeah, personal choices and where you feel that you fit in the culture. And are you gonna ever find a company that's a perfect fit for that?

Chad: Nah.

Julie Calli: Companies change and their culture changes.

Chad: And people do too.

Julie Calli: Yes, so there's a constant evolution of at the right time, the right person, the right place. Yeah, that could be today and it could not be tomorrow at any company for any person. But I know that companies have to do these types of layoffs. That's a fact that they have to. Can they do it well? I think that there is better chance to do this in these ways that are remote and done so that you can manage with consistency than that one-to-one. So while I know that it does eliminate a lot of the humanized experience that we're used to, I do think it's an advancement towards making sure that it's done properly.

Joel: By the way, in case anyone knows, Chad has promised me that when he lays me off, it will be face-to-face over a bottle of bourbon in case you are wondering.

Chad: Well, I really don't have to because I already have your voice clone, so you're still gonna be there. It's all good.


Joel: Just make sure you send the check to the right address. We'll be right back, everybody. Let's go to Hilton shall we? Happy workers equal prosperous brands. What a concept. Am I right? Hilton apparently takes it seriously though. The hotel chain has worked hard to cultivate an energized workforce to deliver on its brand promises in addition to improving its workplace culture post-Covid, which has been ranked among the best in the world by independent organizations, Hilton is leveraging brand mash-ups and appealing to new age travelers. Chad, what's your take on Hilton's new strategy?

Chad: It makes sense. Again, we talked about Brett Martz, our episode with him, he talked about an actual experience that he had at a hotel where they were understaffed and he got shitty service. Then he talked about another experience, it wasn't in a hotel, but it was still... It was a customer experience where the employees were treated like shit, so therefore they treated the customers like shit, so that just kills your brand. It just blows my mind that this has been such a large, large blind spot for big marketing over the years.

Chad: They're now starting to understand that. Joel, you and I, in 2018 were in BAMF for the gathering. And we really saw, because we didn't really have that much engagement with CMOs and brand leaders at that point, then we started to realize these guys have no fucking clue about how they're treating employees, how the employees are treating customers, not to mention, if you go through an application process, they're losing people there too, 'cause it's shit and they go into a black hole. There are so many areas where marketing is literally dropping the fucking ball. Now that Hilton is finally found out, and now they're doing all these great things to talk about how they have finally... How old is Hilton? Jesus Christ.

Joel: It's gotta be a 50-plus year.

Chad: Jesus!

Joel: It's gotta be 50, 60, 75-year company.

Chad: Easy, easy.

Joel: So I stayed at an Airbnb in my time in Las Vegas. We talked about my vacation. I don't wanna say I'm done with Airbnb but I'm pretty close. Not just for the quality of some of the housing and the customer service, which is none, it's the person who owns the house basically. And Airbnb customer service has to be a third man in that if there's issues. Now more than ever, if you're a traditional hotel, your employees are part of that huge differentiation from this juggernaut they call Airbnb.

Julie Calli: It's such a great point.

Joel: While it may be a convenient, tech efficient, pricing might be better. Your employees, if you're a hotel, are your differentiator from Airbnb because Airbnb has jack shit when it comes to employee support, a smiling face to welcome you, all that good stuff that we took for granted at hotels. And the good news is, market forces and competition have made hotels up their game in the level that we're talking about with Hilton, and it makes a difference in the customer service. I'm more apt to go to a hotel now because of the shitty experiences I've had with Airbnb, and I don't think I would have said that five years ago. I would have said hotels suck, Airbnb is where it's at. And there was a period where Airbnbs were all really good, it was like the best people, they really cared. Now, it's like people who buy investment properties and just do a little fix-up and hope that you pay for the cost of the mortgage. So I think that's key. I also love this brand mash-up thing. I know we talked, my wife and I were watching TV last night, and Peloton has a commercial about how Peloton...

Joel: It's the hotel commercial, but how Pelotons are gonna be in the hotels, and it's not gonna be a regular, shitty experience. And my wife is like, "Oh, well that's a really good deal for Peloton. That's kinda cool." So the other is like having Starbucks have a lifestyle thing at the hotel, so for me, this is all really good but you need employees to make it all work. And for that, I think that's great, and I certainly expect the Hilton example to come to all hotels, certainly your high-end hotels because that employee is the differentiator from technology and the Airbnb juggernaut.

Julie Calli: Yeah, and so many companies are having a hard time hiring frontline workers, and I'd put hospitality into that.

Chad: Yes.

Julie Calli: They're having a hard time hiring them, and now they're also saying, we wanna hire those that are energized and bring that high level of service to our brand. Okay, so now you need people and you need the right kind of people. That has everything to do with the experience that you're gonna bring to them, because if you're already struggling to fill the demand, we have a shortage of frontline workers and their interest to work in these jobs. So if that's the case, what are you going to do to attract them as well? Because this is a really important part. You can claim, we want an energized workforce, but can you make them come? Can they show up? That is gonna have to do with not just running great ads and doing great recruitment marketing, that is gonna have everything to do with the type of experience you provide your employees. And that then is gonna circle back into the potential to bring more. Because if you really are giving a great experience, if they really are enjoying the work, and that is leading to Hilton being a great provider, people are gonna be proud to be part of that, and that's the story you wanna tell that brings the full cycle around. Great employees are gonna give a great customer service experience, they're happy, they're spreading that around, that's a successful company, that attracts more people. That's how the circle of life works in this case.

Joel: It seems like a small thing, but people love... If I say, I work at Hilton and someone says, "Oh, I saw that commercial, you guys got Pelotons in there, and that's really cool shit," that means something to people that work there. We think it's a small thing, but it does mean something.

Julie Calli: Yeah, I love the brand mash-up, I think that there's so many people who are cult brand to Starbucks, Peloton, they love something about a brand, you have the ability to tap into that cult-like experience and bring it into your own, mashing these things up, I think it's genius to do that.

Chad: And it's only taken Hilton 103 years to fucking get there. Great job Hilton. Conrad Hilton...

Joel: Way to google, Chad.

Chad: Yeah. Conrad Hilton is rolling in his grave right now.


Joel: Let's transfer from that to wokeness, shall we?

Chad: Oh, my favorite.

Joel: I know, I know. All right. So go woke go broke has been a popular rallying cry for conservatives as of late. Many high profile companies are struggling with political tensions around the country. Disney's Bob Iger said the company would "quiet down culture war controversies" back in November, and now it's come to beer with Budweiser triggering conservatives with a campaign featuring a transgender influencer named Dylan Mulvaney. In protest, Kid Rock shot cans of beer on Instagram. Chad, there's a lot to unpack here. Your thoughts.

Chad: So there is one constant in this world, and that's change. And every woke initiative is forward gleaning, which is exactly what we want from companies. Instead of looking only to the next quarter, they are building for the next generation. And that's what scares the shit out of MAGA people like Kid Rock. MAGA people want it to be 1930 again and as younger adults have demonstrated, that just ain't gonna fucking happen. A couple of examples, we're talking about government, Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, two young Black state representatives in the state of Tennessee were expelled from the house after joining a gun demonstration and then amplifying the sentiment on the House floor. Jones is 27 and Pearson is 29. They're not allowing this shit to pass.

Chad: Jones was unanimously reinstated back into the Tennessee State House earlier this week, and I believe Pearson will be soon to follow. They are not allowing this dumb backward-looking shit to happen. Then last week in a pivotal Wisconsin Supreme Court race, young voters turned out to elect a pro-choice justice. So let's close the loop here. Kids aren't just voting, they are occupying seats in government and yes, also buying shit. Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser, has been around for 171 years, so they understand that next quarter's profits are important but making sure you're relevant to the next generation is fucking vital to their existence. So being woke isn't just good for business, it's the only business, and I bet Anheuser Bush would rather be called woke than caught yearning for the days of 1930.

Joel: Yeah, the historic perspective is really interesting here, and I talk all the time about part of the benefit of us having a podcast, Chad, is we're old old people.

Chad: Shut up.

Joel: And we remember shit. I know. I'm sorry.


Joel: But there was a day where the only women in ads were in the kitchen making dinner or whatever. And it wasn't until Virginia Slim's you've come a long way baby, took hold, but the model then was like, we're gonna make a cigarette just for women. Yeah, it's the same god damn cigarette, but we're gonna say it's just for women, make it thinner or whatever.

Chad: Or bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, remember that one?

Joel: Yes, another example, and that was the '80s where women divorce and anyway, I don't wanna get into that perspective, but then we had... I remember Billy Dee Williams, pimping Colt 45, which seems super stupid and archaic today, but that was how it was like Black person promoting what we're targeting is a Black product, that doesn't work anymore today. All products are for everyone. Could you imagine Bud Light saying, we're gonna make a gay beer, it just doesn't... It sounds stupid when you say it but 50 years ago, that might have been a thing. So to me, historically, we have always had pushback or hesitancy or fear of combining certain people with different products and hey, they drink beer just like you do. They do this just like you do, they drive this car just like you do.

Chad: They are human beings.

Joel: Yeah, segmenting products and brands is just a really archaic idea, and I think it's just inevitable, history is on the side of Budweiser, whether you like it or not, and most of the people that are bitching about this are 50-plus year old White guys.

Chad: Get off my lawn.

Joel: Frankly. And I'm one of them, so I can relate to that perspective, but yeah, history is not on your side. History is on the side of inclusivity, I know not everyone's gonna love it, but everyone didn't like women cigarettes or Billy Dee Williams. To think about when gay couples or mixed couples on TV was like, what the fuck is that about? That's normal now, no one really goes nuts about like when Ellen kissed a chick on TV, that was a huge deal. Now it's nothing. So eventually we will get to a point where this is nothing but for now it's something and it's worthy of talking about on a podcast, but history is on the side of inclusivity on this one, and inevitably I think, Budweiser is gonna be applauded for this decision at some point.

Julie Calli: Yeah. In today's world, it is almost impossible to be a neutral brand because then you don't stand for anything. Being authentic is standing for something. In this case, I'm very proud of Anheuser-Busch for even when all of the press and the publicity came back, they made a choice to still stand, to stand and not to give in to the transphobia behavior that was coming out against it. They didn't pull it back, they stood with it, they're standing for something that makes them a brand that then speaks to an audience. Now, the younger Gen Z demographic is the audience that they need to appeal to. Chad, I love what you said, they need to think about their future, 'cause statistically, the proud boys are gonna age out, and the Gen Z is gonna fill in the consumer market of the future, and that is an audience that cares about inclusivity. In the end, let's view this for what it was, it was a campaign.

Chad: Yes.

Julie Calli: Budweiser runs lots of campaigns, they work with hundreds of influencers. I'm sure that if you went through the list of every influencer, you'd find somebody you didn't agree with what they stand for but this isn't the spokesperson for their entire brand, this is one of many of the influencers. Influencer marketing is part of the world today, and brands, brands lean in on influencers to reach different types of audiences. This is one of them, there are many of them, and this is the one that's catching a lot of attention right now. So hey, that's actually a good campaign that brings out a lot of attention. And to watch now, Jack Daniels get thrown under the bus here too with this because they also have a campaign running to be expressing inclusivity. But in the end, your business. Where do you measure this is as a success? Go look at your stock, Anheuser-Busch's stock is up six points.


Julie Calli: Now, so is that because everybody's saying, I don't wanna buy your beer, or is that because they're buying 12 cases and shooting it up on their front lawn?

Chad: Who cares? Who cares?

Julie Calli: Whatever is going on, it is working. If the goal of marketing is to deliver communication about your brand that drives sales and revenue, they won, they did it. They increased their value, they're increasing their sales, their stock is on a buy right now, that is a success because they just rallied people who probably could have cared less about Bud Light, who now are gonna stand with the brand and be proud because of its standing for itself against the transphobia that's being expressed to it. So go ahead and shoot it up off your front lawn and pour the beer out.

Julie Calli: But you know what, you bought that beer that you're pouring out on your front lawn. [laughter] You're giving them press, you're giving them the audience on a silver platter that they want anyways, so bravo, thank you for standing, Anheuser-Busch. And all of those that are being so judgmental of a single commemorative can, it's not even printed in all the stores, what are you doing? Take a breath.

Chad: It's an easy math problem, you take a look at demographics today, and then you take a look at it in less than 20 years from now. Who do you want to appeal to? It's very simple, and to be able to make these types of big moves, it's not a big fucking move, it's one can, as you had said. It's not a big move, but yet they again, are really focusing on not the baby boomers anymore, not the... And in the population in less than 20 years, Caucasian is going to be minority, you're going to see a lot of this movement in the next 10 years at least, so as we talk about this today, get ready for the massive move, the massive marketing move.

Joel: I will say it's really unfortunate in a time in America where we're dealing with shootings on a regular basis, that someone would take a semi-automatic weapon to beer cans, which essentially is representative of the trans community, I think you could loosely say, it's just a really bad thing for the country that we've come to a point where like, let's take guns and shoot up beers who represent this campaign of people of trans. So anyway, not marketing-related but still a sad commentary.

Julie Calli: There's a lot of future here that we need to be careful. Like brands, brands are a thing of their own. But when they start leaning into people, they start to have the identity associated with those people. We're watching that a lot, like we can see Elon Musk and... But let me bring up Jared, which is a Netflix special right now. Who was the poster child...

Joel: Proud user, Jared.

Joel: For Subway, yes, and lost a few hundred pounds eating just Subway. They put him on tour. So he became the face of the brand. Then only to find out that he's a pedophile. Now, Subway wants to run away from that as quickly as possible but this is the problem, humans are perfectly imperfect and they're always gonna make mistakes and they're gonna do terrible things. And brands wanna remain this consistent forward-thinking inclusive area where they're not alienating any types of customers they can potentially have or any markets, they wanna remain open and neutral, but this is a dangerous game that we're gonna be playing as companies are leaning more in on influencers. Those influencers are going to have an effect on the brand. So that's what we're talking about here.

Joel: So any time you tie a brand to a person, whether it's the CEO or a fat guy from Bloomington, Indiana, you run those risks, and we talk about brand mash-ups, Pelotons and hotels, and so like Peloton affects Hilton, affects other brands, so yeah, most companies just stay the hell out of I, but to applaud the ones that don't, Julie, to your point is we're talking about. Just like we're done talking on this episode. We actually agreed, all of us on a woke topic. How good is that? Kumbaya, baby. We out.

Chad: We out.

Julie Calli: We out.

Outro: Wow. Look at you, you made it through an entire episode of the Chad and Cheese Podcast or maybe you cheated and fast forwarded to the end. Either way, there's no doubt you wish you had that time back, valuable time you could have used to buy a nutritious meal at Taco Bell, enjoy a pour of your favorite whiskey or just watch big booty Latinas and bug fights on TikTok. No, you hung out with these two chuckleheads instead. Now go take a shower and wash off all the guilt, but save some soap because you'll be back. Like an awful train wreck, you can't look away. And like Chad's favorite western, you can quit them either. We out.


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