Dylan Mulvaney was relatively unknown before the ad campaign controversy occurred in April. It is safe to say that Dylan Mulvaney is no longer Unknown! Following the release of a commercial featuring Dylan Mulvaney promoting one of the most popular beers in the world produced by Anheuser- Busch called Bud Light the sales of Bud Light slumped.
A minute-long video that was mostly promoting a 15000 dollar giveaway according to an article in the New York Times written by Amanda Holpuch called Behind the Backlash Against Bud Light’s Transgender Influencer. It was also stated that it was conservative commentators and celebrities who started calling for a complete boycott of Bud Light.
Since this controversial event took place two executives at Anheuser-Busch have been placed on leave and the CEO stated the following according to foxbusiness.com We need to clarify the facts that this was one can, one influencer, one post and not a campaign,”
Is it even possible to quantify the full extent of the damage this complete and utter debacle has inflicted upon the company?
The New York Post published an article by Ariel Zilber called Anheuser-Busch loses more than $5 billion in value amid Dylan Mulvaney Bud Light controversy. In the article, it is stated that the company is still trying to put out the fires set by the fallout from the ad campaign.
Since March the 31st, the shares of Bud Light have plummeted by 4% in total. This contributed to the company’s market capitalization decreasing heavily from 132.38 billion dollars to 127.13 billion dollars. It doesn’t just end there; a local Missouri distributor of Bud Light canceled an appearance of the Budweiser Clydesdale horses, because of concerns regarding staffers’ safety.
Fox4news.com published an article called Anheuser-Busch sheds roughly $5 billion in value since Bud Light’s Dylan Mulvaney pact sparked outrage co-signing the fact that Anheuser-Busch lost 5 billion dollars in value.
One of the most interesting things that were highlighted in the article published by Fox4news.com was that Beer Business Daily editor and publisher Harry Schumacher wrote that several distributors that distribute for Anheuser-Busch are very concerned over the backlash. I guess this means that more than 5 billion can be lost.
For these billion-dollar companies such as Anheuser-Busch losses in revenue aren’t as impactful as their image and reputation being damaged. Merca 2.0 released an article by Sam Davis called Anheuser-Busch’s reputation disaster: What went wrong and how They should bounce back!
Sam has written that the campaign could prove problematic for the company because decisive online reactions by conservatives calling for boycotts have reached the bud light consumers. Purchasers of bud light are reportedly individuals who work blue-collar jobs between the ages of 25–39 years of age.
Anhesuser-Busch tried to combat the disastrous effects of the Dylan Mulvaney ad campaign with another ad campaign trying to get the viewers feeling patriotic. They are trying to accomplish this feeling of patriotism by displaying the iconic horse Clydesdale walking alongside the Grand Canyon, and other iconic landmarks throughout the United States.
It was clear the ad wanted to emphasize the spirit of America as a whole and try to distance the company from Dylan Mulvaney.
Ted Jenkin the CEO of Oxygen Financial summarized the damage to Anheuser-Busch’s reputation perfectly with this statement: “I mean, if your target customer is Kid Rock, and then all of a sudden you decide to go to RuPaul, that just doesn’t make any sense at all.” In other words, he is saying that Anheuser-Busch decided to undo all of the hard work that has gone into creating an image that resonates with the ideal customer.
With ad campaigns currently being centered around patriotism and Anheuser-Busch’s American roots it shows you how much damage one failed ad campaign did to the business’s reputation. Prominent figures such as Megyn Kelly scoffed at the PR cleanup attempt.
As I mentioned previously in this article several distributors have been increasingly concerned with the bad press Anheuser-Busch has been receiving. An event where the Budweiser Clydesdale horses were supposed to appear was canceled due to safety concerns. An article called Bud Light Maker Offers Distributors Free Beer, More Ad Spending After Dylan Mulvaney Backlash by Jennifer Maloney of The Wall Street Journal truly opens your eyes to how bad the current situation is for Anheuser-Busch.
Apparently, they have been offering free cases of beer to the distributors, because they are unable to sell them due to the public outrage concerning bud light. In my opinion, when you have to offer something to someone for free in order for them to even do something with it you are really in trouble.
The distributors that purchase beers from Anheuser-Busch have most likely worked with them for decades. I cannot imagine how strained these relationships might have become due to this ad campaign.
The Dylan Mulvaney ad campaign has had a significant negative impact on Anheuser-Busch. The company has lost over 5 billion dollars in market value, seen a decrease in sales, and has had its reputation and relationships with distributors damaged.
The attempt to recover through a patriotic ad campaign was met with skepticism and did little to repair the damage done. It serves as a cautionary tale of the potential consequences of misjudging one’s target audience. The importance of being mindful of the impact of advertising campaigns on various stakeholders.
It remains to be seen how long it will take for Anheuser-Busch to recover from this debacle and regain the trust of its customers and partners.
Feel free to contact us with any questions regarding the article!