Bud Light has had a rough few months.
The Anheuser-Busch (BUD) – Get Free Report brand has become the target of right-wing boycotts after it made two marketing missteps. The first, highlighted by the singer-songwriter Kid Rock in a now infamous social-media post, involved the former top-selling beer in the world partnering with the transgender social-media influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
The beer brand didn’t hire Mulvaney for a splashy TV ad or even a major digital campaign. It sent her some cans with her face on them and paid her to post to her social-media accounts. In theory, the partnership was about getting more members of the LGBTQ+ community to try Bud Light.
Most of the time that promotion would have gone unnoticed, aside from Mulvaney’s fanbase, which likely has little overlap with the core Bud Light drinker base.
But Rock posting a video of himself shooting up cases of the beer changed that.
Bud Light also suffered a second, more self-inflicted, wound when its marketing vice president, Alissa Heinerscheid, on a podcast called the brand’s customers “fratty.”
That double-edged sword angered the brand’s fanbase and led to the boycott, which saw Bud Light lose nearly 30% of its sales. Now, the Anheuser-Busch brand faces a new backlash, except this time the story behind it is literally not true.
Bud Light was once the best-selling beer brand in the U.S.
Image source: Shutterstock
Bud Light gets backlash over fake spokesperson scandal
When the Bud Light scandal first broke, a number of celebrities, mostly country singers, aggressively went after the brand. Travis Tritt and John Rich (of Big & Rich fame) made comments about having the beer removed from their tour riders and not selling it at their bars.
Country legend Garth Brooks took the opposite tack, making clear that his in-construction Nashville bar would sell Bud Light and welcome LGBTQ+ customers.
The beer brand simply kept trying to operate as if nothing had happened.
Apologizing for the Mulvaney promotion would have required the brand to say that reaching out to the LGBTQ+ community was somehow wrong. So, the company put out commercials with football players and went back to posting its normal content on social media (all of which was met with mocking and often hateful/transphobic comments).
Now, the brand faces a new right-wing backlash over reports that it hired “The View” co-host Whoopi Goldberg as the new brand ambassador for Bud Light.
Picking the talk-show host, who is an outspoken liberal, would have been an odd choice for Anheuser-Busch, but the company never actually made that call as the stories reporting it — picked up by multiple websites — were made up.