The entire debacle started on April 1st, when TikTok influencer Dylan Mulvaney showed off a special can of Bud Light, sent to him in celebration of his “365 Days of Girlhood”. Because of the timing, many suspected that it was just an April Fools joke.
But as time went on, it became clear that the marketing partnership was sincere. And the result was perhaps the most effective boycott of all time, the full effects of which still remain to be seen.
Now, over a month after the initial video, in a meeting with investors, Anheuser-Busch finally begin to distance themselves from Dylan Mulvaney:
Most of corporate media has been downplaying the boycott for weeks. They want you to believe that it hasn’t been having an effect. This is because they don’t want you to know that you have power, and that you can make a difference. Sure, they have no problem with making people think that they can effect change when they can be influenced into furthering their pet causes. But when you’re furthering traditional values and non-establishment causes? That’s the kind of power that they don’t want you to know you have.
From Fox News:
Anheuser-Busch CEO Michel Doukeris addressed the Bud Light controversy on an earnings call with investors Thursday, downplaying the brand’s partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney that prompted a boycott from conservatives.
Doukeris told investors there is “misinformation” spreading on social media about the company’s team-up with Mulvaney.
“We need to clarify the facts that this was one can, one influencer, one post and not a campaign,” Doukeris said.
According to Michel Doukeris, the “partnership” was only intended to involve that one video, and that one can, only one of which was made, and was only sent to one guy.
By the way, that can is going to end up becoming one hell of a piece of beer memorabilia. After all, that can with Dylan Mulvaney’s face is the can of beer that ended up costing a beer empire billions of dollars, and may even end up costing it it’s long-held spot as the number one beer company.
Anheuser-Busch did claim positive growth for the first quarter of this year. However, the boycott didn’t begin until early in April, when the second quarter would have begun. So the true extent of the damage of the boycott remains to be seen.
As I see it, the damage from the marketing stunt could end up costing Anheuser-Busch for years to come. The image of the Bud Light brand has been damaged, perhaps permanently.
Speaking for myself, I don’t drink beer very often. I’m something of a fitness enthusiast, counting calories and working out, and spending oodles of money on protein shakes. As I see it, a beer is a fun thing to drink once in a great while. But as far as fitness goals are concerned, they’re almost absolutely worthless.
Why do I put so much effort into physical fitness? There are many reasons. One of them has to do with image. I know that some consider it vain to put a lot of effort into image. But when it comes down to it, image does matter. It’s an outward sign of one’s virtues.
So then, if a person puts a lot of effort into being a manly man (and it does take a lot of effort), why would a person destroy their image by doing something completely counterproductive, such as drinking a beer with a bad reputation?
But the thing is, I’m not terribly consequential as far as beer marketing is concerned. After all, I’m just a guy who has one once in a while. The people who are the real gold mines as far as beer companies see it would be the people who frequently buy cases of the stuff, and drink a few cans a day.
But those people don’t want to drink Bud Light, either. And the reason why is because image matters to them, too. The typical beer drinker is usually a man, aged from around 21 to as late in life as they can get away with drinking the stuff. And the thing is, they don’t want to be seen as effeminate, or be teased over their choice of beer. And, as it so happens, Bud Light is infamous for being sponsored by an effeminate man who became famous for pretending to be a woman.
But that’s not all there is to it. The fact is, beer drinkers are pissed, because since the controversy got started, a video of Anheuser-Busch marketing VP Alissa Heinerschied surfaced, claiming that she had a “clear mandate” to replace Bud Light’s current base, which she described as being “fratty” and “out of touch”. (Also surfacing was her old college photos, doing fratty shit like drinking out of a rubber. Classy.)
Obviously, this is scandalous. Any fanbase would be pissed if they heard an official representative candidly stating their disdain for that same fanbase, coupled with a desire to replace them with a different fanbase. What she said could be reduced to, “Screw our current customers, I’d rather we had some different customers.”
Of course, there’s another problem with the fact that she wanted to market to younger people. Dylan Mulvaney is a TikTok influencer, and the typical TikTok user is younger than the legal age for drinking alcoholic beverages.
TikTok should be banned, by the way.
Fox News continues:
The CEO said Anheuser-Busch is “providing direct financial support” to the frontline workers impacted by the boycott, naming delivery drivers, sales representatives, wholesalers, bar owners and servers. Doukeris said the brewing giant will triple media spending on advertising for Bud Light over the summer, confirming reports that the company is planning a major marketing push to recover its brand.
Oh yeah, how’s that for solving a problem? Just throw money at it. I think it’s too little, too late. Too much damage has been done to the Bud Light brand, and I doubt that it will ever recover. And what are they going to do, make more smarmy, pseudo-patriotic horse commercials invoking memories of 9/11? Fuck that horse, except don’t.
But there is one thing that I think would get them back on track. It’s unlikely, and I don’t expect it out of Anheuser-Busch. It would take a huge, massive, abundantly plentiful pair, but if they do it, they might see their brand recover. It might even bring it beyond pre-boycott sales.
Here’s what they do: They adopt a new marketing pitch. It would be simple, and the words would be as follows:
That’s all there is to it. Just those couple words would communicate loud and clear that not only are they distancing themselves from Dylan Mulvaney and anything that has anything to do with him, but that they have the values of the typical beer drinker, and a growing number of Americans.
Don’t expect them to do it? Neither do I. But that would pretty much send the message, wouldn’t it? Of course, there’d be more to it than just saying the words, there would also be the follow-through. Subsequent advertising spots would have to echo the sentiment, showing that they mean it. Of course, there would always be some doubt as to their sincerity, considering that it wasn’t until they had lost tons of money that they arrived at that determination. But still, it would be better than remaining on their current trajectory.
But if they can’t bring themselves to say it, then the Bud Light brand is probably going to fall into oblivion. If it came to that, they’d serve as an example of what can come upon any corporate empire that considers the same mistake. But that’s an outcome that I’d also consider acceptable. They can either denounce woke, or crash and burn. It’s their choice, and I’d enjoy the show, either way.
After the partnership went viral, Anheuser-Busch lost some $5 billion in market value amid calls for a nationwide boycott, and bars and distributors across the country reported significant drops in Bud Light sales.
That special promotion has already cost Anheuser-Busch a lot of money, and by the looks of it, they’re going to continue to lose money.
I know I’ve said it before, but Dylan Mulvaney has a lot of power in his creepy hands. Just through the act of simple endorsement, he has the power to bring multinational corporations to their knees. If Dylan Mulvaney was an X-Man, his superpower would be ruining brands.
Doukeris said it was too early to tell how the boycott affected Bud Light sales but was bullish that Anheuser-Busch will quickly recover from any setback. He reminded investors that the company has navigated global challenges including temporary bans on beer sales in certain countries and shutdowns of bars and restaurants across the globe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We believe we have the experience, the resources and the partners to manage this. And our four-year growth outlook is unchanged,” Doukeris said.
I understand being macho, which involves pretending that everything is okay, even while you’re in pain. But Doukeris isn’t expressing a proper comprehension of the kind of trouble that his brand is in. I know that a CEO would want to express confidence to investors, but it doesn’t seem like he has any plan that would be effective in reversing the damage done to the Bud Light brand.
The fact is, most beer drinkers don’t want to look like an effeminate, preening wussy. Therefore, they can be expected to avoid Bud Light. Anheuser-Busch chose the wrong spokesperson, and all they have to show for it is a hole in their foot.