Bud Light is facing serious trouble due to a marketing controversy involving transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney, according to a scathing report by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The report highlights a massive decline in in-store sales, with Bud Light sales dropping by 26% during the week that ended on April 22.
The trouble is only accelerating, as the beer brand lost 21% of its sales the previous week and 11% the week before that.
According to the Post-Dispatch, total sales are down 8% annually.
Bud Light risks losing its number-one position to Modelo Especial
Bump Williams, the founder and CEO of Bump Williams Consulting, a company specializing in the booze industry, told the Post-Dispatch that Bud Light is still the top-selling beer in America but is in serious trouble this year if parent company Anheuser-Busch cannot halt the decline soon.
Williams noted that Bud Light risks losing its number-one position to Modelo Especial at the end of the 2023 calendar year.
Mulvaney’s ‘most prized possession.’ leads to Anheuser-Busch’s plummeting sales
The marketing controversy involving Mulvaney began in March when the activist publicized that Bud Light had sent packs of beer featuring her face to celebrate a full year of “girlhood.”
Mulvaney shared on Instagram that the cans were her “most prized possession,” including the hashtag #budlightpartner.
A video was also released featuring Mulvaney in a bathtub drinking Bud Light beer as part of the campaign. However, the backlash from conservatives was swift, and Anheuser-Busch faced plummeting sales.
Related: Bud Light Sparks Controversy with Latest Campaign Featuring Trans Influencer
Commemorative beer not for sale to the general public
Anheuser-Busch provided the same statement to Post-Dispatch that it gave Fox News Digital last month.
The statement read, “Anheuser-Busch works with hundreds of influencers across our brands as one of many ways to authentically connect with audiences across various demographics.
Occasionally, we produce unique commemorative cans for fans and brand influencers like Dylan Mulvaney. This commemorative can was a gift to celebrate a personal milestone and is not for sale to the general public.”
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Washington D.C.’s conservative circle experts called in for advice
The controversy has also led to other consequences for Bud Light. Marketing vice president Alissa Heinerscheid reportedly took a leave of absence following the controversial partnership.
The company has hired consultants with experience in Washington, D.C.’s conservative circles to advise the brand moving forward.
Brand image and reputation management importance in business
The Post-dispatch’s report is a significant blow to Bud Light, which has long been headquartered in St. Louis, where the newspaper has considerable influence.
The report highlights the importance of brand image and reputation management in today’s business landscape.
With social media providing instant and global reach, companies must be careful about associating themselves with public figures and cause, as any misstep can result in severe consequences, as we have seen in the case of Bud Light.
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Bud Light to rebuild its reputation with ‘transparency and authenticity.’
As Bud Light continues to face the fallout from its controversial marketing campaign, the beer brand will need to rebuild its reputation and regain consumers’ trust.
This will likely involve more transparency and authenticity in its marketing efforts and a better understanding of the values and concerns of its target demographic.
If Bud Light cannot halt its sales decline soon, it may risk losing its position as America’s top-selling beer, a position it has held for years.
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