Is “misinformation” responsible for Bud Light and parent company Anheuser-Busch’s dire circumstances?
During Thursday’s earnings call with investors, Anheuser-Busch CEO Michel Doukeris surely gave the impression that he thought so.
According to Fox Business, while that earnings call covered the usual range of topics you’d expect to discuss with investors, Doukeris also addressed the transgender elephant in the room — the detrimental advertising campaign launched in collaboration with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
Working with Mulvaney has caused the Belgian brewing company and its once-popular Bud Light brand a multitude of problems.
Managers were placed on leave. Sales plummeted. The allure of celebrities plummeted. The loss of billions of dollars in market value.
And public sentiment plummeted like a bottle of Bud Light left uncovered for a week.
The campaign included a commemorative can and a video of Mulvaney imbibing the beer in the bathtub. According to Doukeris, however, this was not a “campaign.”
“We need to clarify the facts that this was one can, one influencer, and one post and not a campaign,” Doukeris told investors, explaining why he believed the controversy over this “campaign” was largely based on “misinformation” that Bud Light and Mulvaney were working together more closely than was actually the case.
Despite Doukeris’s implied admission that working with Mulvaney has resulted in negative consequences, he emphasized that Anheuser-Busch is more than capable of rebounding from the Mulvaney backlash, noting that the company’s long-term outlook has not changed.
“We believe we have the experience, the resources and the partners to manage this. And our four-year growth outlook is unchanged,” Doukeris told investors.
Anheuser-Busch will work to alleviate the financial anguish and tension that the lack of Bud Light sales is causing delivery drivers, sales representatives, wholesalers, and bars, according to the beleaguered CEO. Doukeris stated that the organization would be “providing direct financial support” to all affected parties.
“We want to reiterate our support for our wholesaler partners and everyone who brings our great beers to the market,” Doukeris said. “I can tell you that we have the agility, resources and people to support the U.S. team and move forward.”
Doukeris cited the company’s success in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the simultaneous closure of thousands of taverns and restaurants across the country.
It is important to note that, while the financial repercussions may be similar to the Mulvaney backlash, the two situations are very distinct.
Nobody blamed Bud Light for the closing of bars or anything similar. Bud Light was as surprised as the average American by the government shutdown.
The Mulvaney scandal has actively damaged the brand’s reputation.
Doukeris 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.”
Anheuser-Busch may recover from this misfortune. No matter how much the company’s CEO wishes to blame “misinformation” for the outrage encircling the brand, they have their work cut out for them.