April 26, 2023 | 7:53 p.m
Bud Light “got it big” when the beer brand partnered with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, and the head of the LGBTQ group has acknowledged plummeting sales of the brew after backlash over the controversial collaboration.
Stacy Lentz, CEO of the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative, said Anheuser-Busch screwed up a marketing gimmick with the TikTok star in a failed attempt to attract aspiring drinkers.
“They were going after the younger generation,” said Stacy Lentz, executive director of the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative, an LGBTQ nonprofit.
“But it’s really difficult on a marketing level, to be all things to all people.
“And it failed miserably.”
One former executive even said the company had “lost track of the consumer” as sales of the low-calorie drink fell 17% in the week ending April 15 compared to a year ago.
“When you have these big companies that have a historical brand identity, it feels so unoriginal when you suddenly get involved in these social campaigns,” Anson Frikes, who headed the brewery’s U.S. operations until last year, said. he told the New York Times.
The beer company has “interfered in polarized America,” said Bing Steinman, editor of Beer Marketer Insight.
“They’re at the center of the culture wars in a way no company could want to be,” Steinman said.
Mulvaney posted a video of herself holding a can of Bud Light to her face after Anheuser-Busch sent it to her as part of a March Madness promo.
The reaction was swift, including calls for a boycott and a video of musician Kid Rock shooting beer cans with an assault rifle.
Alyssa Heinsreid, vice president of marketing for Bud Light, and its president, Daniel Blake, have since gone on vacation, with sources telling the Wall Street Journal that the temporary departure is not voluntary.
A day before Mulvaney’s partnership, Heinerscheid revealed her plans to move Bud Light’s image away from a “prickly” and “out of touch” sense of humor.
Anheuser-Busch stock fell briefly during the peak of setbacks earlier this month but has since recovered.
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