Bud Light has announced a partnership with comedian Shane Gillis in an apparent effort to refresh its brand and attract new consumers. The announcement, made through the beer giant’s official Instagram page, marks a new shift in the company’s marketing strategy, as it seeks to reposition itself in the competitive beer industry.
The Instagram post from Bud Light, featuring a warm welcome to Shane Gillis as part of the team for his 2024 tour, has quickly stirred excitement and approval among fans. The initiative is seen as a daring yet calculated effort to rejuvenate Bud Light’s appeal with its original audience.
Responses to the announcement have been positive. Social media users are celebrating Gillis’s involvement with Bud Light, with comments ranging from declarations of this being the “greatest marketing comeback of all time” to anticipations of new Bud Light commercials starring Gillis.
Fans are speculating about the potential for commercials, especially with the Super Bowl on the horizon, suggesting that a partnership with Gillis could bring a fresh and edgy humor to the brand’s public persona.
Gillis gained recognition for his work particularly through his stand-up and as a co-host of the comedy podcast “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast.”
In 2019, Gillis made headlines when he was announced as a new cast member for the 45th season of “Saturday Night Live” (SNL). However, shortly after the announcement, videos and podcasts featuring Gillis using racist and homophobic slurs came to light. This led to significant controversy and public backlash, and SNL decided to rescind his hiring before he appeared on the show, citing their commitment to fostering a culture of “inclusivity and respect.”
Despite the controversy, Gillis has continued to build his career in comedy. He has performed stand-up across the United States, appearing on podcasts and radio shows, and has been featured in various comedy festivals. His approach to comedy, which often pushes boundaries and tackles taboo subjects, has garnered him a dedicated following.
In 2023 Bud Light, owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, partnered with Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender influencer and actor known for sharing his transition journey on social media platforms.
The controversy began after Mulvaney posted a video on his Instagram account showing a custom Bud Light can with his face on it, which he received as part of a promotional partnership with Bud Light. This was around the time of Transgender Day of Visibility, and Mulvaney thanked Bud Light for the gesture.
The partnership and the custom can be part of Bud Light’s broader efforts to promote diversity and inclusion and to connect with a wider range of consumers. However, the move sparked a significant backlash among many segments of Bud Light’s consumer base. Critics accused the brand of politicizing beer and alienating traditional customers. The backlash was intensified by calls for boycotts from some consumers who expressed their dissatisfaction with the brand.
In response to the controversy, Anheuser-Busch InBev has faced significant challenges since then. The company’s stock price experienced fluctuations and drops in market value for almost a year now. However, as Bud Light navigates a trying comeback, the partnership with Gillis could be a masterstroke in its marketing strategy.