Following the backlash over its partnership with Tran’s influencer Dylan Mulvaney, Bud Light is gifting a case of free beer to all its wholesale distributors.
Here’s the deal…
Unnamed distributors told Business Insider that Anheuser-Busch has offered free cases of beer to all employees who work for its wholesalers to ease tensions brought on by lagging sales and excess stock following a consumer boycott of its Bud Light products.
Bud Light’s decision to showcase the Trans Tik Tok activist on a special can spurred a Boycott Bud Light! online campaign, a video of Kid Rock shooting up a bunch of bud light beer cans that went viral, a huge surge in online interest in the Samuel Adams Beer and continuing repercussions for the #1 brewer in the US.
Bud Light sales dropped by 17% in the in the week following transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney’s announcement that he’d received the Bud Light can celebrating the activist’s “365 Days of Girlhood, “ according to Nielsen data. During that same period competitors Coors Light and Miller Light saw their own sales jump nearly 18%.
On April 15 Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth released a formal statement (without specifically addressing its partnership with Dylan Mulvaney) on a matter they’d probably hoped would have died down by now… A statement that many felt only skirted the edges of the polarizing issue saying that the brand “never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people.”
According to the Drinks Business “Whitworth’s fence-sitting has angered those on both sides; those conservatives who disapprove of the brand’s “woke” campaign, and the liberals who feel Bud Light has not gone far enough to vocalize its support for minority communities.”
In light of the continuing fallout it was inevitable that heads had to roll and on April 21, Bud Light’s vice president of marketing, Alissa Heinerscheid, took a “leave of absence” from the company, as did AB InBev’s president of marketing, Daniel Blake.
At a closed-door meeting in Washington, DC on April 25, Anheuser-Busch executives told US beer distributors they will “spend heavily on the brand after spending fell off a cliff last year,” Benj Steinman, editor of Beer Marketer’s Insights, told the NY Post.
“Anheuser-Busch “did promise to spend lotsa dough on Bud Light [marketing] this spring and summer, starting with big push this week for the NFL draft,” Steinman wrote in a report to clients that was obtained by The Post.
In the meeting Anheuser-Busch gave the wholesalers a letter filled with talking points that were meant to be shared with their retail customers to dispel the “confusion” and “misinformation” that surrounds the Mulvaney controversy, according to Beer Business Daily.
“This was one single can given to one social media influencer,” Anheuser-Busch said in the letter, adding, “This can was not made for production or sale to the general public” nor was it “a formal campaign or advertisement.”
“The shocking deterioration of Bud Light Blue’s market share continued apace through the third week of April — and actually somehow worsened. We’ve never seen such a dramatic shift in national share in such a short period of time,” Beer Business Daily wrote.
The same report paints a much better picture for Miller Lite and Coors Light. The trade publication and data provider noted that Coors Light volume was up 13.3% in the third week of April, while Miller Lite volume rose 13.6%.