The beer company whose partnership with a transgender influencer sparked outrage has launched a new marketing campaign that it hopes will ride out the boycott. Bud light customer service is attempting to shift the narrative surrounding its partnership with Dylan Mulvaney, who posted a video of herself dressed like Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s holding a handful of beers in honor of both March Madness and her first year of womanhood. The beer maker reportedly sent her a package of cans featuring her image, and the move prompted outrage on social media and calls for a boycott of Bud Light from conservative drinkers.
The controversy has weighed heavily on Bud Light’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch, which saw shares drop by more than $5 billion after the incident erupted. Anheuser-Busch has placed two executives who managed the promotion on leave, according to reports. Bud Light’s senior vice president of marketing, Alissa Heinerscheid, was reportedly removed from her position and replaced by Todd Allen, who previously served as Budweiser’s director of marketing for mainstream brands.
In an interview with the podcast Make Yourself at Home, Heinerscheid said that Bud Light needed to find ways to attract younger drinkers and that inclusivity was one way to do it. Heinerscheid has also promoted the brand by partnering with LGBTQ support groups and releasing beers in rainbow-colored bottles during Pride Month.
However, the company appears to have stepped too far into the political sphere with its recent actions and has alienated many of its loyal fans in the process. The company’s doubling down on the controversy only enraged conservatives further, who have called for boycotts of the product.
Some of those conservatives who are calling for a boycott have backed off since the initial furor, but others remain committed to the cause. On Friday, Bud Light’s social media accounts were reopened, and the beer brand released a pro-America ad that it hopes will appease some of its detractors.
But it may be too late to save the company’s reputation among conservatives, especially if its sales continue to decline. An industry expert tells CNN that Bud Light’s sales could drop by millions if the boycott persists for another month.
A bar owner who works with Bud Light distributors says that sales of the beer have dropped dramatically this week and that his customers are opting for Miller Lite and Coors Light instead. He says the backlash could hurt Bud Light sales for an entire year if it persists. But he doesn’t think the boycott will stick, and that Bud Light will eventually recover from this episode. “I’m not for destroying an American company for engaging in this ‘woke garbage,’” he said. “It’s not that different from Nike, which gets attacked for their woke advertising, but they’re doing the same thing that we are.”