Matt Bush, FISM News
Bud Light marketing vice president Alissa Heinerscheid is taking a leave of absence after overseeing a partnership between Bud Light and transgender personality Dylan Mulvaney, including featuring him in a March Madness ad campaign.
After Mulvaney revealed the commemorative beer can with his picture on it and announced the partnership on his social media platforms, two things happened.
First, according to Newsweek, the number of followers on Mulvaney’s social media accounts exploded. In the first 15 days of April, thanks to Bud Light, Mulvaney saw his Instagram account gain almost 3,000 followers per day giving him even more influence and a louder voice than ever before.
Secondly, while the ad campaign has given Mulvaney an even larger megaphone than before, the fate of Bud Light and those behind the campaign have gone in the opposite direction. According to Fox Business, the company lost more than $5 billion in value after news of the partnership with Mulvaney. While official sales reports are not yet out, many expect there to be a huge loss there as well.
On top of the money lost by the company, Bud Light has also lost its marketing vice president Allissa Heinerscheid and her boss Daniel Blake, who oversees marketing for Anheuser-Busch’s mainstream brands Budweiser and Bud Light. Both employees are taking a leave of absence, but neither is expected to return to the company.
“We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people. We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer,” Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth said days later in a statement. Many conservatives said that the non-apology did little to curb the backlash against the company.
THE TRANS DIVIDE
The company’s decision to commemorate and highlight Dylan Mulvaney’s “365 days of girlhood,” however, communicated a different message than the one Whitworth described.
Mulvaney gained prominence by interviewing President Biden for the progressive left-wing outlet “NowThis News.” Mulvaney asked Biden if states should have the right to ban “gender-affirming health care.”
“I don’t think any state or anybody should have the right to do that — as a moral question and as a legal question. I just think it’s wrong,” Biden responded.
Former Anheuser-Busch executive Anson Frericks was interviewed by Fox News for his reaction to Bud Light’s handling of the situation.
“What the customer wants with Bud Light is they want to have things that bring us together. They want humor. They want the ‘Dilly Dilly’ guys. They want football. They want the things that bind us together as co-equal citizens here, not necessarily having Bud Light get involved in political controversies that tear us apart. Heck, this is one of the most apolitical brands out there, shared by Democrats and Republicans alike,” Frericks said.
In a recent press release by Anheuser-Busch, it seems that Whitworth and the company understand that a mistake was made and tried to apologize without apologizing.
Whitworth ended the press release like this:
My time serving this country taught me the importance of accountability and the values upon which America was founded: freedom, hard work and respect for one another. As CEO of Anheuser-Busch, I am focused on building and protecting our remarkable history and heritage. I care deeply about this country, this company, our brands and our partners. I spend much of my time traveling across America, listening to and learning from our customers, distributors and others. Moving forward, I will continue to work tirelessly to bring great beers to consumers across our nation.