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Bud Light Fights for Survival After Backlash from Consumers over PR Missteps
Bud Light, once the leading beer brand, is now struggling to stay relevant after facing severe backlash and negative publicity. The company’s recent disastrous PR moves and conservative backlash have made it an afterthought in the beer market. It seems that people no longer want to associate leftist propaganda with their favorite brew. However, Bud Light seems to have finally realized its mistakes and is taking action to regain its lost consumers.
In April, Bud Light partnered with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney to promote their beer by printing special cans featuring Mulvaney’s face and celebrating “365 Days of Girlhood.” This decision turned out to be a huge mistake as it resulted in a significant negative reaction from consumers. Many beer drinkers shifted their loyalty to other brands, and even singer Kid Rock used Bud Light cans for target practice, showcasing his disapproval.
Realizing the dire situation they were in, Bud Light has recently taken several steps in an attempt to improve their image. They launched an initiative to support Folds of Honor in delivering $3 million in educational scholarships to the families of first responders. Additionally, they offered $150 million to their distributors to prevent their product from being removed from store shelves. Meanwhile, the marketing company responsible for the Mulvaney fiasco, Captiv8, terminated several executives, possibly as a result of the controversy.
In a strategic move, Bud Light secured a deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). CEO Dana White stated, “There are many reasons why I chose to go with Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light, most importantly because I feel we are very aligned when it comes to our core values and what the UFC brand stands for.” However, it is clear that Bud Light’s motive behind this partnership is purely driven by financial gain.
Bud Light now finds itself at a crossroads. They can either genuinely attempt to win back their conservative customer base, or they can continue with their tactics of pretending and hoping the issues will disappear.
The recent actions taken by Bud Light are commendable. Supporting the families of first responders is a noble cause that will undoubtedly be appreciated by many. Furthermore, renewing their partnership with the UFC is a smart business move, regardless of whether it is genuine or not. The UFC is a proud organization, and its association with Bud Light can only enhance the brand’s reputation.
However, for forgiveness to occur, Bud Light must first acknowledge their mistakes and promise not to repeat them. The company needs to be transparent with its customers, admitting that the Mulvaney incident did not align with their values, while emphasizing that MMA fighters and first responders truly represent their brand.
Although it is possible that Bud Light is now shifting its focus back to conservative beer drinkers, as I predicted earlier this year, it seems unlikely at this stage.
Unfortunately, Bud Light has a history of using marketing stunts to divert attention from the controversies they cause. This is the same company whose former marketing boss referred to the brand as “fratty.” Furthermore, they tried to downplay their relationship with Mulvaney by claiming that it was merely a one-can gift.
Bud Light also released a summer commercial that mocked their customers, implying that they were not smart enough to open a beer can properly. This commercial received significant backlash as well, further alienating their already displeased consumer base.
Ultimately, Bud Light finds itself caught between a rock and a hard place. They risk offending both woke consumers and the super woke media. It is impossible for them to appease conservatives and Mulvaney, who believes that doing so is bigoted. Bud Light could potentially consider rebranding and creating a new beer that aligns with woke values, while reclaiming their conservative roots. However, this may prove challenging as both sides would undoubtedly take notice and react.
In conclusion, Bud Light has a decision to make. They must choose whether to offend somebody or risk wasting money and the goodwill they are trying to restore.
Dan Gainor is a freelance opinion editor for Fox News Digital.