In a surprising turn of events, the Bud Light Stage at a local venue in Chattanooga, Tennessee, has been renamed the Ultra Stage due to a recent controversy. The decision was reportedly made prior to the controversy involving Dylan Mulvaney, a biological male who identifies as a woman.
The Riverbend Festival, scheduled for June 2-4, has used the Bud Light Stage as its secondary stage for nearly four decades, attracting around 15,000 attendees annually. However, the term “Bud Light” has become controversial after Anheuser-Busch’s partnership with Mulvaney, a biological male who identifies as female, resulting in a significant backlash.
The new name, the Ultra Stage, is still connected to the Ansheuser-Busch family, named after Ansheuser-Busch’s Michelob Ultra beer. The festival claims that the name change request was made long before the Mulvaney controversy, although some find it difficult to believe.
According to festival director Mickey McCamish, Michelob Ultra is the most requested beer among guests, and they readily agreed to the sponsor’s request for the stage to be renamed. McCamish stated that the change request was made last year.
The backlash against Bud Light seems to be intensifying, as sales have plummeted. During the week ending May 20, sales dropped by 29.5 percent compared to the previous year, following a staggering 17 percent decline in April. In an attempt to sell beer before it expires, Ansheuser-Busch has resorted to heavily discounting Bud Light.
Drinking or ordering a Bud Light is now seen as a political act, resulting in jokes and judgment. Bud Light has become synonymous with controversy and debate, when consumers merely seek to unwind and escape the day’s nonsense.
This situation highlights the marketing lesson that divisive branding can alienate customers rather than attract new ones. We want to hear your thoughts! Do you drink Bud Light? Why or why not?