Bud Light, in an attempt to slow a sales free-fall after an ill-conceived partnership with a transgender influencer, has unveiled camouflage-themed cans to conceal the controversy from its conservative base of blue-collar beer drinkers.
The Anheuser-Busch brand met with distributors at its St. Louis, Missouri headquarters last week to plan an evacuation from the current fiasco, according to the New York Post. The special mission includes camo-print cans that highlight the company’s “Folds of Honor” program which funds scholarships for the families of fallen and disabled soldiers. In the coming months, Bud Light will be aggressively marketed including at large-scale events like the NFL draft. Smaller promotions include free giveaways of “Ultra Mom” t-shirts for anyone who bought Michelob Ultra at participating New York grocery stores over the weekend.
In March, Bud Light’s former vice president of marketing green-lit a small promotional campaign with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. An Instagram post featuring Mulvaney’s face on a Bud Light can quickly gained traction in conservative circles and mushroomed into a nationwide controversy that has cost the brand nearly a quarter of all total sales since the first week of May.
BREAKING: The Bud Light boycott is not slowing down as the company’s sales were down 23.6% in first week of May.
On a yearly basis, Bud Light total sales are down 8%, costing them about $5 billion in losses.
So what is Bud Light doing to fix this mess?
They are redesigning… pic.twitter.com/So8ldh4OXv
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) May 17, 2023
Celebrities like Kid Rock piled on, firing an AR-15 rifle into cases of Bud Light, while country singer Brantley Gilbert smashed a can of Bud Light thrown to him during a performance. Country music legend John Rich pulled all Bud Light beers from the shelves of his famous Nashville bar, declaring to Tucker Carlson, “The customers are king.” Even President Donald Trump weighed in, saying “money does talk” in response to news showing a dramatic decline in sales for the brand.
Alissa Heinerscheid, the marketing VP who approved the controversial partnership, initially defended her decision to shift Bud Light away from its “fratty” image and appeal to younger, more “inclusive” new customers. In the following weeks Heinerscheid went MIA after taking an indefinite leave of absence from her position.