Anheuser-Busch is the producer of Bud Light beer and despite the beer having a solid following among conservative Americans, the company decided to enter into a paid sponsorship deal with a male influencer, Dylan Mulvaney, who is celebrating “her first year of womanhood” during March Madness.
One wonders what the beer producer was thinking, and sure enough, the backlash is extreme. Many are boycotting Bud Light. Ked Rock is shooting cans of the beer, and Travis Tritt has said he is banning Bud Light from his upcoming tour. the New York Post reported that Anheuser-Bush has seen its value plummet more than $5 billion, and the company’s stock declines, decreasing more than 1.5% on Tuesday.
There are some who say that boycotts don’t last and that the company is not in danger. But it seems that the backlash is severe enough to warrant some changes in key positions at Anheuser-Busch, Fox Business reports.
It seems that some rearranging is taking place, Bud Light marketing vice president Alissa Heinerscheid is taking a leave of absence and is being replaced by Budweiser global marketing vice president Todd Allen, AdAge reports. The company has also hired two consultants with experience in Washington, D.C.’s conservative circles to advise the brand moving forward.
Origin Advocacy consultants Sean McLean and Emily Lynch have been brought on to advise “general policy regarding the alcohol-beverage industry,” according to lobbying disclosure reports filed to the U.S. Senate on April 1.
McLean is a veteran of former President Donald Trump’s administration. He also served on the legislative staff of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Lynch has previously held policy staff positions under Republican Rep. Rep. Virginia Foxx and former Sen. Kelly Ayotte FOX Business reached out to Anheuser-Busch and McLean for comment.
Last week, Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth published a lengthy statement hoping to tamp down the animosity aimed at Bud Light and its parent company.
“As the CEO of a company founded in America’s heartland more than 165 years ago, I am responsible for ensuring every consumer feels proud of the beer we brew,” Whitworth wrote. He continued, “We have thousands of partners, millions of fans and a proud history supporting our communities, military, first responders, sports fans and hard-working Americans everywhere.”
Comments that are being made over the controversy suggest that the support groups described in the statement might not be happy with the use of a transgender spokesperson on the beer. Industry experts told the New York Post on Tuesday that the controversy appears to have staying power and could lead to a company-wide boycott of Anheuser-Busch products.
A local Missouri distributer cancelled an appearance by the famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses due to fears for the safety of their staffers.
But it seems that the company is now trying to diffuse the controversary with a new patriotic ad as well last week geared toward those patriotic Americans who have been dedicated customers of the beer. Fox Business reports that the ad was released Friday on social media, depicting the famous Clydesdales traversing America from New York City to the Grand Canyon, passing by scenes in the America heartland as a narrator delivers a patriotic message:
“This is a story bigger than beer, this is the story of the American spirit,” the narrator proclaims. As the ad plays, the horses pass by some of the most famous American landmarks, showcasing the New York City skyline, the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., small towns, and farmland. At one point, the ad showcases two people raising an American flag as one places her hand over her heart.
“Brewed for those who found opportunity in challenge and hope for tomorrow,” the ad’s narrator says as the horses pass by the flag at the Lincoln Memorial.
It remains to be seen whether conservative America, who are not impressed with Mulvaney’s picture on their beer, will be swayed by the ads.
But even as the company tries to cast itself as the beer of the heartland, The NY Post reports that both Bud Light and Nike have pushed back against the criticism and stood by Mulvaney. The influencer is involved in deals with other companies as well, and now is pulling down more than 41 million in sponsorship deals with several big-name brands including Nike and Kate Spade, the Post reports.
Mulvaney gained notoriety after interviewing President Biden on transgender issuers in October. During the interview, Biden said that he does not believe states should restrict “gender-affirming health care.”
Megan Kelly took exception to the deal with Nike, which had the influencer promoting a sports bra. “Nike sponsoring Dylan Mulvaney now for a f-king sports bra,” Kelly said during Tuesday’s edition of “The Megan Kelly Show” on SiriusXM. “I’m sorry, Dylan doesn’t have breasts” Kelly noted.
“Dylan’s been taking some sort of a hormone that has turned Dylan into some…I don’t know what’s happening there, but those are not breasts. And Dylan doesn’t need any sort of bra- never mind a sports bra,” Kelly said.