Bud Light Executive Takes Leave of Absence Amid Controversy
Bud Light’s Vice President of Marketing, Alissa Heinerscheid, will be taking a leave of absence from the company amidst a period of upheaval and controversy. Todd Allen, the VP of Global Marketing at Budweiser, will be assuming her responsibilities. This move comes as senior marketers become increasingly involved in all aspects of the brand’s activities.
In the wake of recent controversy that began two weeks ago, Heinerscheid appeared on the “Make Yourself At Home” podcast, where she discussed the brand’s efforts to reinvigorate its image and attract younger drinkers. While inclusivity is an essential component of brand evolution, Bud Light may have overlooked its adult audience in its attempts to appeal to politically active younger demographics. The brand’s recent campaigns and partnerships have generated concerns about its direction, resulting in backlash and calls for boycotts.
Controversy over Partnership with Transgender Influencer
Bud Light faced backlash over a marketing campaign that featured Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender influencer. The campaign included a custom can with Mulvaney’s face on it, and Instagram posts celebrating “day 365 of womanhood.” The controversy escalated when Heinerscheid received criticism for calling the brand “out of touch” and “fratty.”
Due to the continuing protest against its products, Anheuser-Busch has suffered a market capital loss of more than $6 billion.. Many individuals still refuse to purchase Anheuser-Busch products in the future, maintaining their stance against the company, making it likely the losses will continue for the company.
Response from Anheuser-Busch
Anheuser-Busch InBev, Bud Light’s parent company, released a statement about the controversy. The statement did not mention Mulvaney or issue an apology to customers. Instead, the statment chose to emphasize the company’s commitment to brewing “great” beer and making a ‘positive impact in communities.’
Public Figures React to Controversy
Several public figures spoke out against Bud Light over the partnership with Mulvaney, including country music stars Travis Tritt and John Rich. Kid Rock posted a video showing him shooting cases of Bud Light and expressing his anger at the company for pushing their ideology onto others, especially a market notorious for being a working-class beer of choice.
Country Music Star Receives Cheers For Dropping Bud Light
Country music star John Rich received cheers from fans after he announced he was dropping Bud Light beer in response to the company’s partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. Rich shared a video on social media in which he poured out a bottle of Bud Light and encouraged his followers to join him in boycotting the brand. The video received thousands of comments from fans supporting Rich’s decision to speak out against the partnership.
Crowd goes wild after country star changes lyrics of his hit song to remove Bud Light reference. pic.twitter.com/XwzQLZKPwA
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 18, 2023
Majority of Americans Support Boycott of Bud Light over Transgender Promotion
A survey by Rasmussen Reports found that a majority of Americans are in favor of boycotting Bud Light due to its transgender promotion. The survey, which used a combination of telephone and online responses, found that 40% of American adults would be less likely to buy Bud Light due to the transgender promotion, while only 19% said the promotion would make them more likely to purchase the beer. Anheuser-Busch InBev, the parent company of Bud Light, has lost over $6 billion in market capitalization since announcing its partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. The backlash and calls for a boycott have impacted the company’s stock price, which was trading at $63 at the close of the market on Wednesday, down from around $66 before the announcement.
The survey also found a significant generation gap among respondents. While 33% of those aged between 18 and 39 were more likely to purchase Bud Light because of the promotion, only 6% of those aged 65 and older expressed such favorability. 53% of those in the 40-64-year-old group were least favorable to the ad, stating they were less likely to purchase Bud Light. The survey highlights the importance of corporations being mindful of consumer sensitivities and perceptions when implementing marketing strategies. Meanwhile, Budweiser has launched a new advertisement with patriotic messaging and imagery in an attempt to move away from the controversy.