Bud Light’s recent collaboration with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney has led to a significant backlash and a decline in sales, causing some to question the rise of anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric in the United States and the beer brand’s marketing strategy, including the CEO of the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative.
Stacy Lentz, CEO of the LGBTQ nonprofit Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative, acknowledged that the marketing campaign targeting a younger audience had “massively” misfired after Anheuser-Busch, Bud Light’s parent company, aimed to attract aspiring drinkers through its partnership with the TikTok star.
However, the marketing approach, which attempted to be “all things to all people,” ultimately failed, with sales of the low-calorie beer reportedly dropping 17% in the week ending April 15 compared to the previous year.
Former Anheuser-Busch executive Anson Frericks, who led the company’s US operations until last year, also raised concerns that large corporations can appear inauthentic when suddenly engaging in social campaigns, leading them to “lose track of the consumer.”
Beer Marketer’s Insight editor Benj Steinman explained how Bud Light had inadvertently entered the centre of the culture wars, a position that no company would want, resulting in backlash that included calls for a boycott and a video of musician Kid Rock shooting beer cans with an assault rifle.
Bud Light’s top marketing executives have since taken leave, with sources suggesting their departures were not voluntary.