Bud Light’s transgender pandering was a predictable mistake

Earns Anheuser Busch
Cans of Bud Light beer are seen, Thursday Jan. 10, 2019, in Washington. A semi-truck full of Bud Light overturned in Kentucky on August 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Bud Light’s transgender pandering was a predictable mistake

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Bud Light’s attempt to reach the youth by recruiting transgender TikTok influencer Dylan Mulvaney predictably backfired, and the numbers are coming in to prove it.

Anheuser-Busch distributors were “spooked” by the effects of the advertising campaign, and it “appears likely Bud Light took a volume hit in some markets over the holiday weekend,” according to Beer Business Daily. Numbers from local bars showed sales of Bud Light and other Anheuser-Busch products dropping by anywhere from 30% to 80%. And when this downturn is all over, assuming it does end, those sales will be gone forever. It’s not as if all those people are going to go back and make up for all the Bud Light they didn’t buy or drink in the meantime.

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This is not a surprise. The problem is not just that Mulvaney is only famous for being a man pretending to be a woman but that Mulvaney is a man acting like a stupid, ridiculous caricature of a woman. As my colleague Tiana Lowe noted, it is not necessarily that Bud Light drinkers dislike transgender people but that Mulvaney mocks women with his “puerile performance of a hyperactive, ignorant, and ridiculous preteen girl” and “is genuinely one-of-a-kind obnoxious.”

The most notable part of this, though, is how Bud Light reached its incredibly dumb decision to use Mulvaney in an ad campaign through a genuinely dumb assumption that all the brand needed was to get more woke. Bud Light Vice President of Marketing Alissa Heinerscheid decided that the brand was too “fratty” and had to ditch the “out-of-touch humor” in order to attract “young drinkers.”

As a result, she decided, “It means inclusivity. It means shifting the tone. It means having a campaign that’s truly inclusive and feels lighter and brighter and different and appeals to women and to men.” Heinerscheid added, “You’ve got to see people who reflect you in the work.”

So the grand plan to appeal to women was apparently to advertise with a man who mocks them. The “representation” that the company really needed was transgenderism, which represents a tiny sliver of the country. Young people would flock to Bud Light if they only knew just how woke it was, the thinking went.

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In a way, it’s poetic. Bud Light thought that a man playing the caricature of a woman would appeal to its own caricature of young people, who would see a transgender TikTok user drinking their beer and then decide to become dedicated Bud Light customers.

Even if the backlash from Bud Light’s actual customer base fades over the coming months, it is clear that the company accomplished nothing other than hurting its own brand, all because its marketing department was deluded into thinking that social media is just like real life.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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