Corporations have foolishly waded directly into politics.
And consumers are getting fed up with it.
Now Bud Light’s “woke” error just got a whole lot worse.
People do not like getting lectured to – and certainly not by beer companies.
That’s why Bud Light is receiving such severe backlash after the company entered into a brand deal with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney.
The social media influencer, a biological male who recorded a series called “365 Days of Girlhood,” posted on April Fool’s Day that he was now a sponsor for Bud Light.
“Happy March Madness!! Just found out this had to do with sports and not just saying it’s a crazy month! In celebration of this sports thing [Bud Light] is giving you the chance to win $15,000! Share a video with #EasyCarryContest for a chance to win!! Good luck!” Mulvaney said on social media.
At first, many thought it was an April Fool’s Day joke until an Anheuser-Busch spokesperson confirmed the deal was real.
And it’s been no laughing matter for Bud Light since.
The company’s sales have dropped an eye-popping 26% in just six weeks.
The problem has gotten so bad that financial giant HSBC downgraded Anheuser-Busch’s stock.
Carlos Laboy, managing director at HSBC’s global beverage sector, downgraded Anheuser-Busch from “buy” to “hold ” – meaning he does not consider Bud Light a sound bet at the moment.
The Mulvaney blowback has made the brand toxic among its core consumers.
Laboy wrote that the fiasco represented “deeper problems than ABI (Anheuser-Busch InBev) admits…Is ABI’s leadership getting the brand culture transformation right? It’s mixed…At Ambev, we think the answer is ‘yes;’ in the US, we think it’s ‘no.’”
Ambev is the Brazilian arm of ABI.
Laboy continued, “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. Why did its US leadership underestimate the risk of pushback given the recent experience of other firms? … Is A-B hiring the best people to grow the brands and gauge risk?”
Anheuser-Busch placed two marketing execs on leave in light of the Mulvaney meltdown, signaling that the company made a big mistake.
The company’s failure on the issue is not surprising.
Senior management often do not know what “woke” middle managers are doing as long as the company’s bottom line isn’t ruined.
Leftist middle managers have been getting away with this nonsense, but Mulvaney represented a line in the sand for a lot of people – especially for a blue-collar beer brand.
Laboy added, “If Budweiser and Bud Light are iconic American ideas that have long brought consumers together, why did these marketers fail to invite new consumers without alienating the core base of the firm’s largest brand?”
This has been a big problem for companies that attempt to cater to a vanishingly small “woke” audience.
Bud Light played with fire and got burned.
Perhaps this will be a wakeup call for corporations.