Bud Light’s problem is its beer, not ‘fratty’ branding

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Dylan Mulvaney attends the ‘Parade’ Broadway musical opening night at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre in New York, NY on March 16, 2023. (Photo by Efren Landaos/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images) Efren Landaos/Sipa USA via AP

Bud Light’s problem is its beer, not ‘fratty’ branding

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As the saying goes: Go woke, go broke. The latest corporation to prove the point is Bud Light, which partnered with transgender TikTok personality Dylan Mulvaney.

Why would a discount diet lager believe that Mulvaney, a biological male who identifies as a girl and knows nothing about sports, would resonate with a base that skews male and older? Well, social media sleuths found the answer when they unearthed the beer brand’s vice president of marketing, Alissa Heinerscheid, on a podcast in March blasting Bud Light’s previous “fratty” and “out of touch” identity, claiming that to accrue younger drinkers, its marketing would have to “evolve” and incorporate “inclusivity.”

BIDEN WANTS TO HAVE A TIKTOK ROOM IN THE WHITE HOUSE

Of course, it’s taste, not tact, that has driven Bud Light’s decline in younger consumers. Some young “sober-curious” drinkers are turning zero-proof beers, cocktails, and concoctions into a multibillion-dollar industry, and those who do drink are more varied and particular in their tastes, eschewing whatever light lager is on draft for craft beers, hard ciders, and low-calorie seltzers.

Rather than reckon with Bud Light’s shortcomings as a beverage — it is both obviously worse in taste and higher in calories than other cheap competitors such as Amstel Light and Miller Lite — the C-suite would rather blame its customers.

Luckily, prospective drinkers could put two and two together and come out with the obvious insult that Bud Light simply doesn’t want its base. Investors rewarded Anheuser-Busch for alienating its base of working-class men by pushing its stock price down 2% by Monday’s closing bell.

The brand has boasted marketing successes before and without blasting its base as being insufficiently inclusive. Its “Dilly Dilly” broadcasts beginning in 2017 succeeded in increasing the company’s market share for the first time in years, according to Morgan Stanley analysts. And who could possibly forget Budweiser’s iconic 9/11 tribute featuring Clydesdale horses bowed toward the heart-wrenching void in the lower Manhattan skyline?

It’s not even that the entirety of Bud Light’s base reflexively rejects transgender people — rather, it’s that Mulvaney, who makes a mockery of women with her puerile performance of a hyperactive, ignorant, and ridiculous preteen girl, is genuinely one-of-a-kind obnoxious.

Some young people — yes, including much-maligned young, white males — will always gravitate toward cheap, reliable, and inoffensive beers, especially when hosting parties, “fratty” soirees, or otherwise. If Bud Light explicitly rejects these customers, its competitors can and should take advantage.

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