In the aftermath of the controversy surrounding the Bud Light brand partnership with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney, Budweiser is desperately trying to recover and save its brand image. Budweiser and Bud Light are owned by the parent company Anheuser-Busch which has faced boycotts since partnering with Mulvaney.
Budweiser released an advertisement that was overtly patriotic and pro-America. The ad, which circulated on social media last week, features the famous Budweiser Clydesdale horse traveling across the United States’ various landmarks, such as the Grand Canyon. The ad’s narrator says, “This is a story bigger than beer. This is the story of the American spirit.” The horse gallops through locations such as the New York City skyline, the Gateway Arch in Missouri, and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The horse also can be seen running through small towns and farmland. See the advertisement below.
— Budweiser (@budweiserusa) April 14, 2023
The CEO of Anheuser-Busch, Brendan Whitworth, released a statement last week in a seeming attempt to save the company’s brand image:
As the CEO of a company founded in America’s heartland more than 165 years ago, I am responsible for ensuring every consumer feels proud of the beer we brew. We’re honored to be part of the fabric of this country. Anheuser-Busch employs more than 18,000 people and our independent distributors employ an additional 47,000 valued colleagues. We have thousands of partners, millions of fans and a proud history supporting our communities, military, first responders, sports fans and hardworking Americans everywhere. We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people. We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer. My time serving this country taught me the importance of accountability and the values upon which America was founded: freedom, hard work and respect for one another. As CEO of Anheuser-Busch, I am focused on building and protecting our remarkable history and heritage. I care deeply about this country, this company, our brands and our partners. I spend much of my time traveling across America, listening to and learning from our customers, distributors and others. Moving forward, I will continue to work tirelessly to bring great beers to consumers across our nation.
— Anheuser-Busch (@AnheuserBusch) April 14, 2023
Vice President of Marketing for Bud Light, Alissa Heinerscheid, came into her role seeking to make the beer a more inclusive brand. She called the existing customer base “fratty” and “out of touch.” Anheuser-Busch stock lost over $5 billion in market capitalization following the backlash from the Mulvaney deal. As of writing this article, there have been no indications that Heinerscheid has been fired.
Heinerscheid is quoted saying, “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. So I had this super clear mandate, like we need to evolve and elevate this incredibly iconic brand and my what I brought to that was a belief in okay, what is what are we what does evolve and elevate mean? It means inclusivity it means shifting the tone. It means having a campaign that’s truly inclusive and feels lighter and brighter and different and appeals to women and to men and representation is it sort of the heart of evolution, you got to see people who reflect you in the work and we have a hangover. I mean, Bud Light had been kind of a brand of Friday. Kind of out of touch humor, and it was really important that we had another approach.”
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