Marketing Brand Purpose Diversity & Inclusion

Michelob Ultra steps up to support female and non-binary marathon runners


By Webb Wright | Reporter

November 1, 2022 | 3 min read

The initiative includes a new video spot celebrating Kathrine Switzer – the subject of a famous photograph taken during the 1967 Boston Marathon.


In a new video spot, Michelob Ultra recreates an iconic photograph from 1967 / Michelob Ultra

Beer brand Michelob Ultra has announced a campaign aimed at supporting female and non-binary runners.

The campaign – launched in partnership with the Women’s Sports Foundation, a not-for-profit devoted to promoting access to athletic programs for women – includes a video spot that recreates an iconic (and somewhat haunting) photo captured during the 1967 Boston Marathon: Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to ever enter the famous marathon, is being accosted by an angry official who is trying to forcibly remove her from the race. (The official ended up being pushed out of the way by Switzer’s boyfriend, who was also running in the marathon, allowing her to finish the race.)

In Michelob Ultra’s video, we see actors portraying Switzer, her fellow racers and the angry official. Switzer is depicted as a stoic, almost angelic character, dispassionately and gracefully running through her assaulter as he grabs for her clothing; this depiction is true to the original, now-famous photograph, in which Switzer really does look like a figure taken straight from a Renaissance painting.

“When I thought about quitting, something made me keep going,” the voice of present-day Switzer intones during the video spot. “I realized that I was running a bigger race. If I quit, this picture would tell the world that women shouldn’t run. But if I kept going, my last step in this race would become the first step for millions.”

Along with the ad, Michelob Ultra’s campaign will include a panel discussion with Switzer and other notable names from the world of professional running. The brand is also launching a ‘Run Fund’ designed to give female and non-binary first-time marathoners a chance to enter the 2023 New York City Marathon, as well as training resources leading up to the race.

The brand’s Run Fund launches today, and the spot will air in New York City this weekend, alongside the beginning of the New York City Marathon.

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