Bud Light, the woke beer company, has experienced a significant decline in sales, dropping nearly 25% in the latest week. Its competitors, including Coors Light, have managed to attract customers away from Bud Light, contributing to this decline. Additionally, Starbucks faced criticism for a controversial transgender advertisement, being compared to going “full Bud Light.” Target also faced backlash for its swimwear for kids, which some deemed as “Bud Light 2.0.”
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Furthermore, a transgender model, previously incarcerated in Rikers men’s prison, shared a video of herself enjoying Bud Light, adding to the ongoing discussions surrounding the brand. In response to its decreasing sales following a failed marketing partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, Bud Light has decided to repurchase unsold cases of expired beer from wholesalers.
Anheuser-Busch, the company that owns Bud Light, aims to rebuild its relationship with forgotten consumers who were put off by Mulvaney’s social media endorsements. The Wall Street Journal reports that Bud Light will sponsor a veterans group for the first time ever. Additionally, the brand plans to feature advertisements heavily focused on football and country music. These efforts seek to reconnect with its target audience.
Mulvaney, who gained a large social media following during her transition from male to female amid the COVID pandemic, shared a video promoting a Bud Light contest with her nearly 2 million Instagram followers. As a token of appreciation, she received a specially designed commemorative can of Bud Light featuring her likeness.
Unfortunately for Bud Light, the controversial posts and the company’s handling of the subsequent backlash led to a significant negative response and calls for a boycott of the brand. Consequently, Bud Light sales have suffered, and the fallout has alienated a significant portion of its consumer base.
Conservatives vowed to boycott all brands owned by Anheuser-Busch, while LGBTQ advocates accused the company of caving into the outrage directed at Mulvaney. As a result of this turmoil, two high-ranking marketing executives at Anheuser-Busch have been placed on leaves of absence.
Recent data from Bump Williams Consulting and NielsenIQ indicates that nationwide retail sales of Bud Light dropped 23.6% compared to the same period last year during the week of May 6. Although this decline is slightly less severe than the 23.3% drop observed in the previous week (ending April 29), sales of other Anheuser-Busch brands also experienced declines, although at a slower pace.
Budweiser saw a 9.7% decrease compared to an 11.4% decline the previous week, Michelob Ultra dropped 2.9% versus 4.3% in the prior week, and Natural Light decreased by 2.5% compared to a 5.2% drop the previous week.
Meanwhile, rival beer brands are capitalizing on Bud Light’s decline. Pabst Blue Ribbon, in particular, saw a 21.6% increase in sales during the week of May 6, slightly higher than the 18.9% spike observed the previous week. These statistics indicate that Bud Light’s competitors are gaining market share at a faster rate.
Bud Light is facing significant challenges due to its marketing missteps and the subsequent backlash. The brand’s sales have declined, allowing its competitors to gain an advantage in the market.
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