The Bud Light boycott began at the very beginning of April, when Dylan Mulvaney posted a video about Bud Light in an attempt to stir up interest in the brand as the March Madness playoffs began. Despite such boycotts usually fizzling out relatively quickly, this one is, surprisingly, still chugging along and doing financial damage to the woke company.
Harry Schumacher, editor and publisher of Beer Business Daily, recently gave an interview with NBC regarding the subsequent backlash from the Dylan Mulvaney partnership. He commented on how the boycott against Bud Light has lasted longer than most expected.
“Nobody imagined it would go on this long,” he told NBC. “It seems random — it struck a nerve. I’ve never seen anything to compare it to, in all of the [consumer packaged goods] industry. It’s a real shock.” He added, “Most people don’t care about this issue and don’t want to get roped into a conversation. Therefore they’re not going to buy the beer.”
Schumacher said Bud LIght’s marketing decision was poor and at the wrong time. “It just seems like an unlucky draw,” he said. “The timing and the zeitgeist and the divided environment all combined to create this unbelievable boycott that nobody could have anticipated.”
The Daily Wire further wrote about the fallout Bud Light is experiencing: The brand, which had already been slipping out of favor with the rise of hard seltzers and craft beers, had been trying to reach new audiences when the company hired Alissa Heinerscheid to revamp the brand — but when the Mulvaney partnership soured consumers, Heinerscheid was quickly placed on leave.
Anson Frericks, former president of sales and distribution at Anheuser-Busch, recently predicted a rough summer for Bud Light.
He said, “I think that you’re going to see sales continue to be down because customers, it’s too easy for them to switch to other brands, and they’re seeing the impact of their results. If they want those customers back, they have an easy decision that they can make, which is saying, ‘We want Bud Light customers back, therefore Bud Light is not going to get involved with political issues moving forward.’ If not, they’re probably going to be in a worse position next year and their sales will continue to decline.”
Similarly, Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary described the situation as a “nightmare from hell” for the brand and said it was a posterboy for brand mismanagement, saying:
“Well, Bud Light has become the poster boy for brand mismanagement from multiple perspectives. So let me lay it out for you. Because these discussions that have arisen, and the narrative that’s arisen around Bud Light, is probably a good lesson for every CEO in every sector of the economy.
[…]“And so people that did not like the message, regardless of where you stand on these social issues, or gender narrative or whatever, they took it out by basically boycotting the product immediately. Yeah, it’s switching preference to other brands that did not make them get involved in this issue.
“Now, if you’re trying to manage that, and trying to learn something from it, and I certainly talked to all my CEOs about this, because here we are talking about it in its second month. Yeah. This is a nightmare from hell for the brand.
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