More than three months later, the makers of Bud Light still don’t “get” it. And neither, apparently, does its transgender former “spokesmodel” Dylan Mulvaney.
Anheuser-Busch is flailing—and mostly failing—in its efforts to win back Bud Light’s disgruntled, largely blue-collar customers repulsed by Mulvaney, a social media “influencer” whose transgender base comprises an estimated .003% of the population.
Since (aptly enough) April Fools’ Day, when Mulvaney debuted as an “ambassador” for Bud Light, sales have fallen off a cliff faster and further than Wile E. Coyote ever did in any Road Runner cartoon of old.
The New York Post — which has been closely tracking Bud Light’s fall from consumer grace with what seems to be more than a bit of schadenfreude — reported July 3:
The nation’s top-selling beer saw sales plunge 27.9% in the week ended June 24 — slightly better than its record-worst 28.5% the previous week, according to data from Nielsen-IQ and Bump Williams Consulting.
The number of units sold plummeted 31.3% from the same time last year — worse than the 31.1% decline the previous week.
And the hits just keep coming: WRAL-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina, reported June 30 that a glass manufacturer that makes bottles for Budweiser and Bud Light will be shuttering plants in North Carolina and Louisiana later this month and laying off close to 650 employees, in no small part due to the sales collapse.
Still, Anheuser-Busch has steadfastly refused to apologize for what the conservative WesternJournal.com on July 3 described as spending customers’ “hard-earned money to validate a deranged man’s claims that dressing like a woman makes him a woman.”
Podcast kingpin Joe Rogan on his June 29 episode was even less charitable, calling Mulvaney “a mentally ill person who’s just an attention whore.”
Rogan’s guest, rapper Ice Cube, was likewise bemused. “Who controls Bud Light? That’s the question,” he said. “Why would they make a dumb decision like that? Are they trying to ruin Bud Light?”
Rogan blamed Anheuser-Busch’s move on leftist political pressure on corporate America to adopt so-called environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards. He added that the beer giant’s making Mulvaney a brand “ambassador” showed how out of touch with “regular people” it is.
The day before, on June 28, Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth, interviewed on “CBS Mornings,” was asked point blank: “Was this a mistake?”
That was a simple “yes” or “no” question, but Whitworth danced all around it without answering it. (The correct answer is “yes.”)
Instead, the beer brand has released a condescending 15-second ad, titled “Backyard Grunts,” featuring NFL Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and showing men kicking back on lawn and deck chairs with Bud Lights, presumably after a hard day’s work, with an “Aaaaaah.”
Even as an exercise in pandering, it’s pathetic.
Bud Light also advertised heavily July 1 on WWE’s professional wrestling “Money in the Bank” event, which streamed on Peacock. The audience for pro wrestling is not exactly the pro-transgender demographic. (There would be little or no overlap of the two in one of Vice President Kamala Harris’ beloved Venn diagrams.)
If Bud Light is to have any chance of winning back at least some of the lost market share that once made it America’s best-selling beer brand and some of parent company AB InBev’s lost $27 billion in market capitalization, Whitworth needs to don sackcloth and ashes and proffer an unconditional public apology for the entire Mulvaney episode.
It’s not enough that Alissa Heinerscheid — the former vice president of marketing for Bud Light, who decided recruiting Mulvaney was a good way to revamp the brand’s “fratty” and “out-of-touch” image — was sent packing, banished to the obscurity she so richly deserves. (Anheuser-Busch denies she was fired, insisting she is “on leave.”)
Heinerscheid is probably in a witness-protection program somewhere, likely commiserating with her ideological soulmate, disgraced former Homeland Security anti-“disinformation” czarina Nina “Mary Poppins” Jankowicz.
But Whitworth is unlikely to offer any kind of genuine corporate mea culpa, for fear of incurring the hellacious wrath of the disproportionately powerful LGBTQ+ lobby at the Human Rights Campaign. The HRC already has penalized Anheuser-Busch on its “Corporate Equality Index” scorecard for not stoutly standing by its decision to sign up Mulvaney as an influencer.
“Bud Light maker stripped of LGBTQ+ rating for caving to Dylan Mulvaney backlash” is how USA Today headlined its May 18 report on the HRC’s notifying Anheuser-Busch that it had “suspended its Corporate Equality Index score.” Its letter gave the beer-maker an ultimatum to respond within 90 days or risk losing its perfect-100% pro-LGBTQ+ rating.
It will be interesting to see how Anheuser-Busch tries to thread that needle.
For his part, after an uncharacteristically long silence, Mulvaney complained that the beer-maker hasn’t come to his defense in the face of the consumer backlash and Bud Light boycott. In a June 29 Instagram video, he insisted, “For a company to hire a trans person and then not publicly stand by them is worse, in my opinion, than not hiring a trans person at all.”
Shortly after the controversy first erupted, Whitworth issued a statement that averred: “We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people. We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.”
His company picked a curiously divisive way to “bring people together,” which suggests how out of touch with the mainstream the elites in the C-suites of America have become.
All of this is a hole entirely of Anheuser-Busch’s own digging, but one it appears unwilling to dig itself out of.
Originally published at WashingtonTimes.com
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