Once-loyal consumers of Anheuser-Busch brands, including Bud Light beer, are turning on the company for its new woke advertisement campaign, Fox News reported Monday.
The brand made a splash last week after it stepped into the culture wars, featuring male-to-female transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney as a new spokesperson on the TikTok social media platform.
However, backlash from local restaurants and bar owners appears substantial.
"I think society flexes it[s] muscles sometimes and reminds manufacturers that the consumer is still in charge," Jeff Fitter, a sports bar owner in Missouri, told the network. "In Bud Light's effort to be inclusive, they excluded almost everybody else, including their traditional audience."
Another sports bar owner, Alex Kesaris of the Braintree Brewhouse in Massachusetts, said that 80% of Bud Light drinkers ordered something else this week, with the rest unaware of the new social media campaign.
"They didn't order it again," Kesaris said.
Their comments arrive after audio emerged of Alissa Heinerscheid, Bud Light's vice president of marketing, saying that the brand needed to "evolve and elevate" in order to attract young drinkers.
"What I brought to that was the belief in — what does evolve and elevate mean? It means inclusivity. It means shifting the tone. It means having a campaign that's truly inclusive and feels lighter and brighter and different and appeals to women and to men," Heinerscheid said.
"Bud Light had been a brand kind of a brand of fratty, kind of out-of-touch humor, and it was really important that we had another approach," she added.
But a national analyst of the beer industry informed Fox that the shift was probably not the correct one.
"They've already done enough damage in one week to disrupt year-long sales projections," the beer industry representative said. "You don't just make up those sales. People aren't going to drink twice as much Bud Light the following weekend to recover the lost business."
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