CEO distances Anheuser-Busch from Bud Light Dylan Mulvaney controversy: ‘Not a formal campaign’. CEO Michel Doukeris says Bud Light only partnered with Dylan Mulvaney for ‘one post’ and that it was not an advertising campaign.
Anheuser-Busch CEO Michel Doukeris addressed the Bud Light controversy on an earnings call with investors Thursday, downplaying the brand’s partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney that prompted a boycott from conservatives.
Doukeris told investors there is “misinformation” spreading on social media about the company’s team-up with Mulvaney.
“We need to clarify the facts that this was one camp, one influencer, one post and not a campaign,” Doukeris said.
The CEO said Anheuser-Busch is “providing direct financial support” to the frontline workers impacted by the boycott, naming delivery drivers, sales representatives, wholesalers, bar owners and servers. Doukeris said the brewing giant will triple media spending on advertising for Bud Light over the summer, confirming reports that the company is planning a major marketing push to recover its brand.
Bud Light remains embroiled in controversy after the brand sent Mulvaney a personalized pack of beer with the influencer’s likeness as part of an ad for the company’s March Madness contest and to celebrate a year since Mulvaney began identifying as a woman.
After the partnership went viral, Anheuser-Busch lost some $5 billion in market value amid calls for a nationwide boycott, and bars and distributors across the country reported significant drops in Bud Light sales.
The backlash led the brand to shake up its marketing team, and Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth published a lengthy statement hoping to tamp down the animosity aimed at Bud Light and its parent company.
Doukeris said it was too early to tell how the boycott affected Bud Light sales but was bullish that Anheuser-Busch will quickly recover from any setback. He reminded investors that the company has navigated global challenges including temporary bans on beer sales in certain countries and shutdowns of bars and restaurants across the globe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We believe we have the experience, the resources and the partners to manage this. And our four-year growth outlook is unchanged,” Doukeris said.
“We want to reiterate our support for our wholesaler partners and everyone who brings our great beers to the market. I can tell you that we have the agility, resources and people to support the U.S. team and move forward,” he added.
“We will continue to learn, meet the moment in time, all be stronger and we work tirelessly to do what we do best: Bring people together over a beer and creating a future of more cheers.”