Bud Light, the world’s number-one-selling beer brand has now been the subject of a major marketing disaster for a month. Dylan Mulvaney, America’s most brazen trans “celebrity”, blasted an absurd video while clad in a bathtub and announcing Bud Light would celebrate the cosplay claim to be a woman throughout a whole year. Since then, we’ve watched as a boycott of organic beer erupted. The beer brand is now in trouble.
The real indicator to pay attention to is the sales numbers. The numbers are beginning to bubble up and aren’t good. Mike Miller (ironic), covered the latest where beer industry analysts had pegged the decline in sales. It is as ugly and shabby as a fashionista sporting a five o’clock shave.
In the first week following the announcement of this partnership, the decline was substantial, with a drop of -11%. It has continued to fall in subsequent weeks. The drop in sales was -21% two weeks ago, and last week, it dropped even more, by a rate just above -26%. The brand has sold about half the units it did in March. Both Coors and Miller saw their sales rise by close to 13%.
Brewers have tried several fixes for this issue. Alissa Heinerscheid, the VP who orchestrated the fiasco for this brand, is currently on leave along with another senior executive. The company produced a jingoistic ad and hired a group of GOP operatives to lobby in Washington D.C. on behalf of its beer. It’s not working. This is a rebellion that is organic, and it isn’t being stopped by any of these measures.
Anheuser-Busch has been caught in a difficult position because it has angered the left wing of the debate. The foam-suckers have been appeased, but those who support trans issues view this as an insult. Some activists interpreted the CEO’s letter to everyone as a rejection of Mulvaney and the trans community.
Anheuser-Busch caves to the pressure of a massive campaign against the company after it used trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney as a spokesperson for Bud Light. Read between the lines of this statement and you can see a company running scared and kicking Mulvaney to the curb. pic.twitter.com/lMwqqgQjdy
— Benjamin Ryan (@benryanwriter) April 14, 2023
In the week following the brewery’s attempt to stop the bleeding, activists, and allies of the left say that this company is working with the hateful group in their eyes.
The brand has been accused of pandering towards transphobes, despite committing to support the LGBTQ+ movement. This row has now evolved into a larger debate on the acceptance and inclusion of transgender people in the public sphere.
The Advocate, a publication for LGBT people, also saw the moves. They called for a Bud Light boycott for what they described as “trans hatred”. Anheuser-Busch is now turning away from the group it was trying to align itself with, which means that all of this effort not only has failed to pay dividends but also has turned into a nightmare. This is another example where vocal activists are not a good component for businesses.
Over the years, we have seen a pattern of businesses trying to appear socially relevant only to find that their attempts to appease led to a marketing malaise. Recently, I covered the fact that no one mentioned the massive losses suffered by the brand previously known as Aunt Jemima. Target stores saw a drop in traffic after they entered the debate about gender bathrooms. Gillette suffered huge sales losses when it called its male customers “toxic” in advertisements. Disney is still recovering from the disastrous year it had after getting involved in Florida’s political debates.
The conservative consumer, who is constantly attacked in the media and considered an outdated demographic, has a real influence on marketing. The beer-drinking public has already made up their minds and the brewer is unable to change them. Anheuser-Busch has to pay the bill because the group that it initially appealed to, turned away.