After a video of Kid Rock shooting Bud Light cans and country singer Travis Tritt announcing on Twitter that he would no longer support Anheuser-Busch, the company that produces Budweiser and Bud Light, stating that he would be deleting all Anheuser-Busch products from his tour hospitality rider, the recent marketing efforts of Bud Light have caused quite a stir in the media and among consumers.
Bud Light’s Vice President of Marketing, Alissa Heinerscheid, acknowledged that the brand’s past marketing campaigns were “out of touch” and “fratty,” and stressed the importance of inclusivity and representation in their campaigns. However, the brand’s decision to partner with controversial transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney has resulted in backlash and calls for boycotts.
Mulvaney gained notoriety for a campaign showcasing their transition over the course of a year, and Bud Light celebrated Mulvaney’s one-year mark by creating a limited edition can with their face on it as part of the company’s Pride campaign. Mulvaney promoted the can and Bud Light during March Madness to their almost 2 million followers on social media.
Bud Light’s failure to consult with their loyal customers before launching their partnership with Mulvaney was a big mistake, as they missed a crucial opportunity to gauge how their target demographic would react to the campaign. The move has sparked controversy and boycotts, with many customers criticizing the brand for supporting Mulvaney and their controversial past.
While Heinerscheid defended the partnership, stating that the brand needed to attract young drinkers to prevent its decline and that inclusivity and shifting the tone were crucial in this effort, Bud Light’s decision to partner with Mulvaney has alienated many of its customers. If Bud Light had consulted with their loyal customers, they may have been able to identify this potential issue early on and avoid the negative backlash that they are currently experiencing.
Moreover, Mulvaney may have been a better spokesperson for a different product in the Bud Light portfolio, such as Bud Light Lime or Bud Light Seltzer. These products are not as closely associated with the Bud Light brand and may have been a safer choice for a controversial partnership.
Bud Light’s marketing nightmare highlights the importance of consulting with loyal customers and carefully considering brand collaborations to avoid negative associations and backlash. By taking these steps, brands can ensure that their marketing campaigns are inclusive, diverse, and well-received by their target audience.