Recently, an executive at Aneheusr-Busch admitted the disaster that unfolded after partnering with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney has been a wake-up call for the company. The global chief marketing officer Marcel Marcondes made the admission during a presentation at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, an international event for the field of advertising.
According to reports, Marcondes said the company had been “humbled” by the consumer backlash it has continually faced in light of the unfolding controversy. The executive explained how the boycott has been difficult for the beer giant as the company’s mission is to “bring people together” through its products. Instead, Bud Light has caused incessant divisions.
“Companies and brands must be driven by their values. We are a beer company. Beer is for everyone,” Marcondes stated. “In times like this, when things get divisive and controversial so easily, I think it’s an important wake-up call to all of us marketers first of all to be very humble. That’s what we’re doing, being very humble, and really reminding ourselves of what we should do best every day, which is to really understand our consumers. Which is to really celebrate and appreciate every consumer that loves our brands—but in a way that can make them be together, not apart,” the executive continued.
Marcondes claims that Anheuser-Busch is trying to understand its customer base to “celebrate” and “appreciate” them through humility. That’s a stark contrast from the attitude of former vice president of marketing Alissa Heinerscheid regarding Bud Light’s customers.
Heinerscheid claimed Bud Light was a “brand in decline” that needed to attract a new audience or else its future was jeopardized. “I’m a businesswoman. I had a really clear job to do when I took over Bud Light and it was, this brand is in decline. It’s been in decline for a really long time. And if we do not attract young drinkers to come and drink this brand, there will be no future for Bud Light,” she claimed.
The former marketing executive doubled down, slamming the average Bud Light customer as “fratty” and “out of touch,” claiming the beer needs to become more “inclusive.” Heinerscheid said, “I mean, Bud Light had been kind of a brand of fratty. Kind of out of touch humor, and it was really important that we had another approach.”
Ironically, Heinerscheid’s vision for the company might have sealed the fate of Bud Light’s future instead of the alleged “brand in decline” it was before the disastrous collaboration with Dylan Mulvaney. It is unclear what she was basing that assessment on, considering Bud Light had long held the title of best-selling beer in America.
Now Bud Light has been dethroned from the title by Modelo Especial, who is now outselling Bud Light. Bud Light sales have been consistently down over 20 percent week-over-week since early April, Anheuser-Busch has lost tens of billions in market value, putting the stock in bear market territory, and some speculate Bud Light may have tarnished its brand image in such a way that it will never recover from this controversy.
Anheuser-Busch now claims they need to understand and respect their customer base, a seemingly different stance from Heinerscheid’s. It is evident by the consequences listed above treating a large portion of your customer base like deadweight is not an effective business model.
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