Early last month, Bud Light enacted a brand partnership with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney, giving the influencer a special Bud Light can with Mulvaney’s face on it. Mulvaney then created content on social media showing millions of people the collaboration with Bud Light.
Conservatives, who have grown progressively tired of their favorite companies and brands virtue signaling to woke ideology, took to social media, creating a massive backlash against Bud Light and forming a boycott. According to one industry guru, this may be the biggest marketing social media blunder in recent times.
Viral Nation marketing strategist Emma Ferrara told Fox News, “In my career, and from what I’ve seen, this has by far been one of the most polarizing instances within the social media space. She continued, “When you’re looking to connect with a new community, which I think is incredibly important, I think there is a right and wrong way to approach that. And it starts with understanding who your core audience is. It starts with also understanding who is your brand and what are your values and what’s your purpose.”
“Brands need to be aware that the transgender community is not a monolith, and individuals within that community have, you know, many different experiences and perspectives and identities,” Ferrara said. “That means brands need to conduct thorough research and gain a deep understanding of the nuances within that community. And as well, I think there should have been some steps to really understand their current community and how they feel around that topic.”
The Bud Light boycott has been so impactful that CEO of Anheuser-Busch, Michel Doukeris addressed the issue on a recent earnings call with investors. Doukeris seemingly attempted to downplay the collaboration with Dylan Mulvaney and claimed there is “misinformation spreading around the internet relating to the controversy. He said, “We need to continue to clarify the fact that this was one can, one influencer and one post and not a campaign… As we move forward, we have adjusted and streamlined our marketing structure so the most senior marketeers are more closely connected to every aspect of our brands.”
Ferarra criticized Doukeris’ comments, “I really am of the belief that there is no such thing as a small post, or one post, or diminishing the meaning behind that. I do believe that there was an effort to connect with the community and one that, I think, just came about in the wrong way because it was inauthentic, and it wasn’t credible.”
She added, “When we think about the social space and when we think about partnerships and when we think about diverse groups and creators, including those from the transgender community, I think it’s really important for brands to take a step back to ensure that they’re relevant, they’re authentic and they’re credible in regard to the brand’s need to really develop a thoughtful and nuanced strategy around this. I think it’s important that you have the right experts to help you navigate and understand what is the best way to meaningfully connect, and is it even the right community to connect to?”
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