Top executives at Anheuser-Busch, Bud Light’s parent company, are starting to admit their judgment may have been flawed when they partnered with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney in their March Madness promo.
— Ad Age (@adage) June 19, 2023
InBev’s global chief marketing officer, Marcel Marcondes, told AdAge on Monday that the boycott that resulted from the PR stunt has been a “wake-up” for the company.
“In times like this, when things get divisive and controversial so easily, I think it’s an important wake-up call to all of us marketers, first of all, to be very humble,” he said. “That’s what we’re doing, being very humble and really reminding ourselves of what we should do best every day, which is to really understand our consumers. Which is to really celebrate and appreciate every consumer that loves our brands—but in a way that can make them be together, not apart.”
Marcondes admitted that seeing the controversy and divisive debates surrounding Bud Light and other big brands has been difficult.
“It’s tough exactly because what we do is all about bringing people together…Companies and brands must be driven by their values. We are a beer company. Beer is for everyone.”
Marcondes revealed that Bud Light will shift its focus to what it stands for and attempt to reconnect with customers.
“It (Bud Light) exists to make beer easy to drink and easy to enjoy. That’s what we all, as a team, will be doing moving forward as a group,” Marcondes added. “That’s what leaders do. Bud Light is coming back. It’s going all around the country, reconnecting with consumers, moving forward.
Marcondes’s admission comes just three days after Brendan Whitworth —Anheuser-Busch CEO— released a statement acknowledging the boycott’s effect on the company. In the Friday statement, Whitworth told customers that the company would shift its focus back to reinforcing Bud Light’s core message.
“We hear you. Our summer advertising launches next week, and you can look forward to Bud Light reinforcing what you’ve always loved about our brand – that it’s easy to drink and easy to enjoy,” Whitworth said. “As we move forward, we will focus on what we do best – brewing great beer and earning our place in moments that matter to you.”
Looks like Anheuser-Busch is going to have to continue to take it like a man, or rather girl, as Dylan Mulvaney likes to think of himself.
Anheuser-Busch Releases ‘We Hear You’ Statement Over Bud Light Backlash: ‘Beer Is For Everyone’ https://t.co/bdW6m91xys
— Rob (@Robbopaloobop) June 18, 2023
Despite Marcondes and Whitworth’s admission, neither of them offered an apology for the Mulvaney debacle.