Anheuser-Busch, maker of Bud Light, said Tuesday that two executives took a leave of absence after the beer was featured in a social media promotion by a transgender influencer.
Bud Light’s sales are plunging amid calls for a boycott due to criticism of the ad and its response. backlashThis involved targeted harassment of one of our officers who was on vacation.
Alissa Heinerscheid, Bud Light’s vice president of marketing, and Daniel Blake, who oversees marketing for Anheuser-Busch’s mainstream brands, are on vacation, the company said in a statement.
In a statement, Anheuser-Busch said, “We have made several adjustments to streamline the structure of our marketing function to reduce layers and ensure that our most senior marketers are more closely connected to all aspects of brand activity. I did,” he said. “These steps will help us stay focused on what we do best: brewing great beer for all our consumers, while always making a positive impact on our community and country.” to give.”
company confusion Started April 1sttransgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, posted a video In her post, which took less than a minute on her Instagram account to promote the Bud Light March Madness Contest to her 1.8 million followers, she announced that the company had created a tall Bud Light with her face painted on it. I said I sent the can. I edited the image of the can and made it into a video.
Within days, conservative celebrities and Politicians called for a boycott of the brand. These calls were followed by opposing boycott or buycott calls, urging people to buy Bud Light to show their support for the marketing.
Brendan Whitworth, CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev, said: indirectly addressed the controversy in a statement April 14th.
“I didn’t mean to get into an argument that would divide people,” he said. “We are in the business of bringing people together over beer.”
This did nothing to quell Bud Light’s criticism. grown Include complaints about the lukewarm response to the backlash, as well as targeted harassment of Ms. Heinerscheidt.
Critics of Mulvaney’s ads found a March podcast interview in which Heinerscheid said some of Bud Light’s previous ads had “crappy, slightly off-topic humor,” Said the company would need more. Inclusive for its demographic to grow. The podcast quote went viral, and The Daily Caller, The New York Post, and The Daily Mail published photos of Heinerscheidt at a party at the university in 2006.
Heinerscheid and Blake could not be reached for comment.
News of the executive’s leave began circulating after reports about Mr. Heinerscheidt on Friday. beer business dailya trade magazine, and another Sunday Sunday publication about her boss, Mr. Blake. wall street journal.
The controversy had a negative impact on Bud Light’s sales, with sales dropping 17% in the week ending April 15, according to Beer Business Daily.
In the United States, the beer industry is dominated by two major brewing companies that control 65% of beer sales. Molson Coors Beverage Company, which owns well-known brands such as Coors and Miller, and Anheuser-Busch InBev, which also owns Corona and Miller. Michelob.
More than 20 years ago, beer accounted for about half of all alcohol sales in the country.It had a market share of about 42% last year, as sales of gin, vodka and other spirits have surged in recent years.
Anheuser-Busch, which launched non-alcoholic and canned cocktail drinks, reported that beer sales in North America fell 4% last year.
Bump Williams, who runs an alcoholic beverage consulting firm, is concerned that the Bud Light controversy could have a negative “halo effect” on Anheuser-Busch’s other brands.
Harry Schumacher, The publisher of Beer Business Daily said sales of competitors Miller Lite and Coors Light nearly rose on a dollar-per-dollar basis as sales of Bud Light declined.
Schumacher said it’s a “terrible” situation for Bud Light in the short term, but the long-term business impact is likely to be minor as the brand was already in decline. It just steepens the decay curve,” he said.
He said the popularity of different beer brands tends to vary across generations, with Bud Light experiencing a slump in that cycle.
“It’s been going on since Prohibition was repealed,” he said. “And the brand cycles about every 20 to 30 years.”
He said the company may have a “silver lining” because the controversy has received so much media attention.
“They didn’t really support it enough, but they seemed to take a position,” Schumacher said. “They threw it away and hid it. I think that’s unfair to Dylan and a little unfair to the trans community.”
Criticism of Bud Light has come from Republican state legislators propose legislation It regulates the lives of young transgender people, limits drag shows in ways that broadly encompass performances by transgender people, and requires schools to introduce transgender students to their parents.
Mulvaney has documented her transition on TikTok, where she has over 10.8 million followers. In March, she celebrated the first anniversary of her “Days of Girlhood” series.
Anheuser-Busch said earlier this month that it is “working with hundreds of influencers across its brands as one of the many ways to ensure it connects with audiences across demographics,” telling Mulvaney that she I gave him a personalized can with his face on it. milestone.
Mulvaney has not reacted to the Bud Light controversy, but spoke about the hostility she faced in an interview on the podcast Moving Forward with Rosie O’Donnell. released in the backlash“She’s an easy target,” she said.