Anheuser-Busch Faces Backlash Over Bud Light and Other Brands
Conservatives have been up in arms over Bud Light’s recent nod to a transgender social media influencer, resulting in a 23.6% decline in sales for the week ended May 6 compared to the same period last year. Other Anheuser-Busch brands have also taken hits, with Budweiser sales declining 11.4% and 9.7% for the weeks ended April 29 and May 6, respectively. However, analyst Robert Ottenstein of Evercore predicts that the backlash may have peaked, with some brands showing signs of improvement.
Controversy Leads to Downgrade
Investment bank HSBC recently downgraded Anheuser-Busch stock due to the controversy, questioning why the company failed to invite new consumers without alienating its core base. The VP of marketing at Bud Light, Alissa Heinerscheid, took a leave of absence after criticizing the brand’s “fratty” image, and Daniel Blake, who leads marketing for Anheuser-Busch’s mainstream brands, was also placed on leave over the incident.
Efforts to Win Back Consumers
Anheuser-Busch has downplayed the extent of the partnership and hired veteran Republican lobbyists in efforts to win back conservatives who once consumed the brew. The company plans to produce a camouflage Bud Light can as part of an initiative that offers educational scholarships to family members of fallen American military service members and first responders. Budweiser has also shared images of a limited edition beer can featuring patterns inspired by Harley-Davidson.
Offending Both Sides
Despite these efforts, Anheuser-Busch appears to have offended those on both ends of the political spectrum. Leftists and owners of gay bars across the country threatened to launch additional boycotts after the firm backed away from Mulvaney.
- Bud Light sales declined 23.6% in the week ended May 6 compared to the same period last year
- Budweiser sales declined 11.4% and 9.7% for the weeks ended April 29 and May 6, respectively
- Michelob Ultra sales declined 4.3% and 2.9%
- Natural Light sales declined 5.2% and 2.5%
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