Bud Light’s Big Football Marketing Bet—Is It Enough To Save The Brand?

Ad Age


‘A waste of money’

Bump Williams, president and CEO of the beverage alcohol industry consultant Bump Williams Consulting, believes the issue plaguing Bud Light is not transphobia or sexism but consumers who felt insulted by comments then-brand VP Alissa Heinerscheid made in a podcast, deriding the “fratty, out-of-touch humor” of Bud Light’s marketing past as it sought a younger and more diverse audience. Heinerscheid went on a leave of absence as the controversy heated up in April and the company has not commented on her current status.

“It has nothing to do with transgender. It has nothing to do with conservative vs. liberal or Republican vs. Democrat or man vs. woman or rich vs. poor,” Williams said. “When I look at local market data, I see California, a liberal state, is down double-digits on Bud Light. Iowa, a pretty conservative state, is down double-digits … That tells me it has nothing to do with transgender or blue and red. It’s a Bud Light problem.”

Figures from Engagement Labs tell a different story, showing that sentiment among Republicans for Bud Light fell from around 60% positive in April to less than 20% positive by June. Democrats remained 60% positive in both periods, Engagement Labs’ figures show. That suggests the brand has weathered criticism from progressive groups that accused Bud Light of not standing by Mulvaney. Some LGBTQ+ bars pulled AB InBev products in protest.

According to Williams, solving the problem involves more than appeasing customers but making amends with entities along the supply chain that have been damaged by the scandal, including retailers and distributors. Although AB InBev announced a plan to support its distributors in June, Williams called the effort insufficient.


Read the full Ad Age article, here.

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