Bud Light plans to 'spend heavily' on marketing to fix Dylan Mulvaney debacle

Bud pledged to US beer distributors this month, "…there will be an improved screening process before any marketing hits the public."

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
Bud Light is planning to spend big bucks on a major marketing campaign after its sales tanked in response to a partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, according to a new report.

Benj Steinman, editor of Beer Marketer’s Insights, told The New York Post that on Monday Anheuser-Busch executives at a closed-door meeting in Washington, DC, told US beer distributors they will "spend heavily on the brand after spending fell off a cliff last year."

Steinman said that the new marketing blitz will begin this week, as the beer giant attempts to reverse the damage from the ill-advised Mulvaney campaign which tanked Bud Light sales by 17 percent the week ending April 15.

Steinman wrote in a report to clients on Wednesday that was obtained by the outlet that Anheuser-Busch "did promise to spend lotsa dough on Bud Light [marketing] this spring and summer, starting with a big push this week for the NFL draft."

A Northeast-based distributor told The Post that in a series of private Zoom meetings, Bud pledged to US beer distributors this month, "…there will be an improved screening process before any marketing hits the public," and that "executives will have to go through a more rigorous screening process."

Steinman said the meeting "wasn’t that productive and the distributors were hoping for more concrete plans" on how to stop the backlash against Bud Light because they "want to put this behind them."

Many of Anheuser-Busch’s 400 distributors left the meeting frustrated because Anheuser-Busch never apologized for "what they’ve gone through and the lost business they’ve had to deal with," a report from industry newsletter Beer Business Daily stated, according to the New York Post.

Steinmann noted, "Wholesalers have long felt that Anheuser-Busch was too focused on innovation and not enough on their bread-and-butter brands."

A non-apology from Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Brendan Whitworth only fueled the anger of consumers.

Anheuser-Busch put two marketing executives overseeing Bud Light, the brand’s vice president of marketing Alissa Heinerscheid and her supervisor, Daniel Blake, on leave in an attempt to quell the outrage.

On Tuesday, Anheuser-Busch gave the wholesalers a letter filled with talking points that were meant to be shared with their retail customers to dispel the "confusion" and "misinformation" that surrounds the Mulvaney controversy.

Anheuser-Busch claimed in the letter obtained by the outlet, "This was one single can given to one social media influencer. This can was not made for production or sale to the general public" nor was it "a formal campaign or advertisement."

The letter added, "Our new Vice President of Bud Light [Todd Allen] and all of us at Anheuser-Busch are committed to reminding all of our consumers why they love Bud Light and why they’ve made it the #1 beer in America."

Bud Light is the biggest beer brand in the US but has been losing market share for years. Industry experts blame Anheuser-Busch for slashing spending marketing beer as the company spent only $10 million marketing Bud Light from January through July of last year, compared with $183 million in 2018.

According to Beer Marketer’s Insights, Bud Light reduced spending to $125 million in 2019, then again to $76 million in 2020, and a mere $57 million in 2021.

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