The debacle with Bud Light since hiring Dylan Mulvaney to represent their brand is 100 times worse than you know. On Friday, their VP of marketing around which this controversy has been swirling is on leave.
In times past, when there was an announcement that an entity grudgingly had to report, it was made on Friday. This was because it was the end of the work week for many people, when people preferred to wind down, and any announcement would likely be buried by the weekend itself. Thus, Friday was once considered the time where news stories went to die.
But that’s not the age we live in, anymore. In this connected world, the people can be well-informed, regardless of when an announcement is made.
The VP of marketing for Anheuser-Busch, Alissa Heinerscheid, is on leave. We all know what that means, because the same language was used by Project Veritas with James O’Keefe, before he quit and went on to form O’Keefe Media Group.
Only, because Alissa Heinerscheid is only a household name for the wrong reasons, if at all, she’s being processed into unemployment.
We know how it is with companies like Anheuser-Busch: They have shareholders, with whom they want to project confidence. It’s because of this that if you were to ask anyone representing Anheuser-Busch in any official capacity, they’re going to insist that “Everything’s fine, everything is just fine, why do you ask?” even as they’re bleeding out all over the market, and distributors are struggling to find shelves willing to take any more of their product.
If you remember, this whole mess started when TikTok personality Dylan Mulvaney announced that he had been hired by Anheuser-Busch to represent their Bud Light product line, a move which alienated typical beer drinkers.
Since then, a video featuring Anheuser-Busch VP of marketing Alissa Heinerscheid has surfaced, explaining her personal belief that she had a “mandate” to change the Bud Light brand from the image she had of its current base, which she described as being “fratty” and “out-of-touch”, and replace that same base with younger drinkers. Images of her college adventures have surfaced, showing her to have been fratty in some of the worst ways, which includes at least one picture of Alissa drinking out of a rubber.
I’m no marketer, but I suspect that one thing a marketer should never say under any circumstances is that a product’s established user base needs to be replaced with a new user base. After all, these are the people who have demonstrated a loyalty to the brand, and it’s usually this customer base that a company would rely on for its continued success. To attempt to throw them out in order to roll the dice on a hypothetical new base would seem an unacceptable gamble, as such a move would demonstrate disloyalty to the established base, and any hypothetical new base would have a low expectation of loyalty towards them, considering the loyalty that the company demonstrated towards their previous base.
Or, at least don’t upset your customers. Oldie, but goodie.
I know that some people are looking for an apology from Anheuser-Busch. Such an apology might be an admission of wrongdoing, and a commitment to do better going forward. But I don’t have my hopes up.
Besides, even if Anheuser-Busch and its ex-CIA chief were to apologize, I doubt that the Bud Light (Bud Lick, LOL) brand would actually recover. It’s gotten to the point that no one wants to be caught drinking a Bud Light, or they’ll be made fun of, with the guys asking them when they plan on getting their “bottom surgery”. No one wants to risk that kind of embarrassment, so no one wants to drink a Bud Light.
But for a moment, can we appreciate the kind of power that Dylan Mulvaney has in his creepy hands? As much as we may hate to admit it, he has the power to destroy brands, costing them billions of dollars (if they even have that kind of money to lose), by just endorsing them. That’s a terrifying thought.
In any case, with ESG losing ground, it’s hard to imagine that Anheuser-Busch has very many options for reducing the damage done. The fact is, they need to push product in order to be worth anything as a company. And with stores not buying many cases, it’s going to be interesting to see the sales numbers when those come.
I know that not everyone out there takes pleasure when someone reaps the rewards of stupidity, but I think that there’s comfort to be had in a predictable universe that still operates according to the principles of natural law, and of cause and effect. Especially when someone has deliberately chosen to malign those who effectively provided for them. We don’t always get to see the out-of-touch city dweller who makes fun of the people who makes his food for him go without. It’s more amusing still when it comes upon a corporate type who can’t identify with the typical working man. There is mirth to be found in this.
I think an appropriate accompaniment to such mirth would be with a nice cocktail, like an Old Fashioned, or a Gin and Tonic. Or maybe a Pina Colada if you’re feeling particularly festive. There are lots of choices as far as cocktails go. And if a hard liquor goes woke, it’s easy to replace.