Bud Light Launches Major Summer Campaign Amid Boycott and Decline in Sales

Bud Light Launches Major Summer Campaign Amid Boycott and Decline in Sales
Atmosphere at the Bud Light Party Convention in Phoenix on Aug. 5, 2016. (Getty Images)

A Bud Light executive said the company will be tripling its investment in the beleaguered brand over the summer in the midst of a boycott after it promoted a transgender influencer earlier this year.

Anheuser-Busch, the parent company, has “more than tripled our already weighty national media investment” behind Bud Light, the company’s vice president, Todd Allen, told Variety magazine in a recent interview.

“We want to show up in all relevant occasions in summer—backyard barbecues, stadiums and sports venues,” Allen said on June 22. “That’s what counts and that’s what we are focused on.”

Over the past three months or so, Bud Light has lost billions in sales and market value, with data from Bump Williams Consulting and Nielsen IQ showing revenue was down 26.8 percent year-over-year for the week ending June 10. In May, meanwhile, Constellation Brands-owned Modelo Especial was the most-purchased beer in the United States, dethroning Bud Light as the No. 1 beer.

As Allen proclaimed the renewed investment into the brand, Bud Light also released a television commercial, titled “Easy to Summer,” which was derided by people on social media in the wake of the backlash, and it did not make any mention of LGBT themes or content. “Crack a cold one: we’ve got an epic summer ahead. Sock tans included,” Bud Light wrote next to the ad on Twitter.

Responding to the latest ad, conservatives like podcast host Liz Wheeler wrote on Twitter that the company is trying to avoid the controversy. “None of this is funny until & unless you apologize for using Dylan Mulvaney—a man pretending to be a woman—as your spokesperson. It’s insulting that you think an ad about summer will make us forget our principles. The boycott continues,” she asserted in a post.


It all started when Bud Light made a promotional can with the face of Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender TikTok influencer, on it. In social media posts, Mulvaney claimed a partnership with Bud Light and prominently displayed the can.

But some conservative celebrities weren’t pleased, including musician Kid Rock, who posted a video of himself using a case of Bud Light as target practice. Some country singers also said they wouldn’t serve the beer at their establishments or concerts.

Since the Mulvaney controversy erupted, Bud Light’s sales have dropped precipitously during consecutive weeks. The week ending June 10 appeared to be the worst so far, according to Bump Williams industry data.

Weeks later, Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Michel Doukeris told investors and the Financial Times that, in an apparent attempt to distance Bud Light from Mulvaney, only “one can” with Mulvaney’s face was created. Also to blame for the drop in sales was social media-driven “misinformation” and “confusion,” he added.

Bump Williams, the chief of the eponymous consulting company, told the New York Post last Wednesday: “This was a tough week for Bud Light and other beer brands” that are owned by Anheuser-Busch, including Budweiser. Sales of Budweiser were down 10 percent, Natural Light was down 2.3 percent, and Michelob Ultra was down 2.4 percent.

In the midst of the lagging sales, Anheuser-Busch sent a statement to news outlets that Bud Light is the top-selling brand in the United States so far in 2023 in terms of overall volume and dollar sales.

More than a week ago, an executive with Anheuser-Busch spoke out about the boycott as he got an award during the Cannes Lions International Festival in the south of France.

“It’s tough to see the controversial and divisive debates that have been happening in the U.S. in the last couple of weeks involving lots of brands and companies, including and especially Bud Light,” Anheuser-Busch’s global chief marketing officer, Marcel Marcondes, told the Cannes Lions International Festival, according to an AdAge report. “It’s tough exactly because what we do is all about bringing people together.”

But in mid-May, Anheuser-Busch was downgraded after an HSBC analyst revised the stock down to “hold” and claimed the company is dealing with a “Bud Light crisis.” The analyst speculated there may be “deeper problems” at Anheuser-Busch that the company might not be willing to publicly admit.

“Is ABI’s leadership getting the brand culture transformation right? It’s mixed,” the analyst wrote said at the time. “At Ambev, we think the answer is ‘yes’; in the U.S., we think it’s ‘no.’ The way this Bud Light crisis came about a month ago, management’s response to it and the loss of unprecedented volume and brand relevance raises many questions.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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