Whitworth Comments on Divisive Bud Light Campaign Afterfallout
Anheuser-Busch’s CEO, Brendan Whitworth, has declined to clearly state if the company would again collaborate with transgender TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney following the controversy over a Bud Light campaign.
Challenging Weeks for Anheuser-Busch
In an interview with CBS Mornings, Whitworth admitted that the company had faced a difficult few weeks due to the divisive conversation surrounding Bud Light. He explained that the discussion had deviated from the brand and its product, causing a negative impact on the business.
“One Can” Controversy
When asked about the company’s plans in the face of this controversy, Whitworth downplayed the issue, referring to it as just being about “one can.” However, he acknowledged the fallout’s effect on the company’s employees, consumers, and partners and reiterated his accountability as the CEO.
Uncertain Future with Mulvaney
In response to questions about the possibility of partnering with Mulvaney again, Whitworth avoided a direct answer, pointing out that big brands like theirs were at the center of important societal discussions. He emphasized the need for understanding and appreciating consumer wants, expectations, and concerns.
Continued Support for the LGBTQ+ Community
Despite the recent controversy, Whitworth reiterated Bud Light’s long-standing support for the LGBTQ+ community, dating back to 1998. He confirmed the brand’s intention to continue supporting communities and organizations they’ve backed for decades. However, Whitworth indicated a desire to shift the focus back to brewing great beer for everyone and listening to their consumers.
Corporations’ Dilemma Amid Pride Month Campaigns
The backlash over Pride Month campaigns has left corporations in difficult positions, particularly with initiatives targeting young audiences. CNBC reported that companies might face tough decisions in the future. Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light, which faced a significant brand downturn after partnering with Mulvaney, was replaced by Modelo as America’s top-selling beer. Anson Frericks, a former executive at Anheuser-Busch, suggested companies need a better understanding of their audience in these circumstances.