Anheuser-Busch didn’t become America’s best-selling brewer because they misread their target audience. Bud Light wasn’t the most popular beer in America simply because the company ignored what was considered sensitive to their customers.
Well, somehow it still happened. Three weeks ago, the controversy surrounding the transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney was sparked by Mulvaney’s Bud Light partnership during the NCAA Basketball Tournament. According to NielsenIQ and Bump William Consulting, Bud Light sales fell 17% in the week ending on April 15th.
Insights Express stated on April 23, “These numbers are astounding.” This is a difficult situation for Anheuser Busch, the Bud Light brand, and AB distributors.
Alissa Hinerscheid and Daniel Blake are “on leave”. They were the ones who made Mulvaney’s nomination. The success of the brand will likely determine its return.
This looks terrible right now.
Some distributors have even canceled events featuring the beloved Clydesdale draft horses — something that no doubt has the Bush family wringing their hands. The distributors say they “are looking for a much more pointed and well-developed plan on how Anheuser-Busch might stem the onslaught of negative attention and sales trends,” according to Insights Express.
New York Post:
Brewbound is an industry publication that cites BeerBoard statistics. They reported that Bud Light was most popular in bars during the NCAA basketball tournament from March 18 to April 1. Bud Light sales were up 15% but then fell 6% after the Mulvaney campaign.
Overall, Bud Light’s volume declined by 34.7% at bars, restaurants, and other venues between April 2 and April 15, according to BeerBoard. Bud Light dropped to the No. 4 draft beer from No. 3 during the second week of the controversy, switching places with Coors Light, Brewbound reported on Monday.
Sales of light beer have increased while Bud Light sales have declined.
According to the report, Coors Light’s dollar share increased by 3.5%. Miller Lite’s dollar share also increased by 3.1%. The report suggests that the decline in Bud Light’s dollar share was caused by consumer backlash, not a drop in beer demand.
The number of Coors Light cases and Miller Lite bottles increased by 10.6% for each product over the same period.
Bud Light’s sales dropped by 6.7% over the past year. They also fell by 10.7% and 21% in the weeks of April 8th and April 15th.
Bud Light is a brand that has gained a lot of loyalty over the years. The marketing strategy could be compared with “New Coke”, Gap re-designing their logo, and other marketing mistakes made by companies.
Why is Bud Light so bad? What kind of recklessness could they have displayed to risk their brand?
In their hubris, the two Bud Light marketing executives Alissa Blake, and Daniel Blake, were caught up in the media mirage that was created to give an impression that transgender acceptability was possible. They were not asking the correct questions when they said that using Dylan Mulvaney during the Final Four NCCAA Basketball Tournament would be worth it.
They turned “edginess” into anger. Making customers angry over your product is never a good idea.
AB has a messy situation as it tries to contain the damage to prevent other brands from being affected. A transgender spokesperson may be hired to market niche products aimed at young people. National brands have not accepted transgendered speakers and are unlikely to do so in the future.