A new ad campaign for Bud light customer service is out that the company hopes will help it ride out the backlash from its controversial partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. The new campaign features the Budweiser Clydesdales galloping through all-American landscapes, along with men grabbing a couple of cold ones together.
In a recent podcast interview with the Make Yourself at Home podcast, Heinerscheid said that Bud Light is trying to appeal to young drinkers by being inclusive and that it has a history of supporting LGBTQ+ causes. The company has even released beer in rainbow bottles for Pride Month and partnered with LGBTQ+ support groups, the company has said.
But stepping recklessly into the culture wars with its partnership with Mulvaney was a bad decision, according to bar owners and beer-industry analysts around the country. Mulvaney, a transgender woman who has millions of followers on Instagram and TikTok, posted a video on April 1 of her cracking open a can of Bud Light that the beer maker had sent her, which she shared with her audience. The move was met with outrage on social media and calls for a boycott of the brand. Shares of the company’s parent, Anheuser-Busch, fell briefly.
Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth published a statement on April 14 saying the company “never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people.” But many on the right were unsatisfied with the response and continued to call for a boycott of Bud Light, which is the nation’s best-selling beer.
While it’s not yet clear what impact the backlash will have on sales of Bud Light, the company has reportedly shaken up its marketing team. Ad Age was first to report that Heinerscheid has been placed on leave and that Todd Allen, who most recently led Bud Light’s market for mainstream brands, will replace her. The company’s VP of marketing is also set to leave, as is the person who oversees market strategy for its LGBT-friendly brands.
FOX Business contacted Bud light distributors, and several said they felt the company’s statement did not fully address their frustration over the boycott. Some distributors also noted that the company’s overall sales for the week of April 15 dropped 17% compared to the same period last year.
The company also introduced a free smartphone app called Bud-E that allows users to see how much of their fridge’s contents are left and schedule re-up deliveries from a local store. The app is available on iOS and Android phones. It will also notify the user when someone opens the fridge and is drinking away their precious supply of ice-cold Bud Light. The Bud-E alarm can be turned off when not in use. The app was developed by the startup BevMo. It has been featured in a number of major tech and business publications. BevMo says it has been downloaded more than 7 million times. It has a 4.5 star rating on the Apple App Store.