The latest North American sales figures for Bud Light show a 17.1% decline in the third quarter. This is on top of a 14.5% drop the previous quarter.
Is anyone drinking Bud Light anymore in the USA and Canada? And to address the bigger picture, will Bud Light ever recover from its massive marketing blunder of featuring a trangender influencer?
The long-term answer is most likely yes, but at what short-term costs? It just paid well into nine figures to became the official beer sponsor for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (knocking sales rival Model out of that ring; it had previously sponsored the UFC), is paying $1 billion (yes that’s with a “b”) back to investors and investing heavily into supporting its male-heavy NFL sponsorship. (It must be pointed out that overall, parent U.S., Anheuser-Busch reported an overall 5% increase in revenue for the quarter, tho that was due primarily to higher prices for beers overall in the market.)
The blunder, which used a transgender influencer in a social media post, was flat-out dumb to begin with and caused a huge backlash against the primary male Bud Light drinkers. It then compunded the problem by fumblng its response, ticking off the very audience it was supposed to attract to grow its brand in the first place. What’s worse is that the majorty of influencer Dylan Mulvaney’s audience are not even of legal drinking age. This was such a collosal screwup that it should be taught as an example of what not to do in marketing classes at every university in the country.
Now it’s backpedaling quicker than a defensive back on a deep route, spending tens of millions trying to reconnect with the male audience it had prior to the failed campaign. I go out a lot in my reserch of bars and nightlife for PubClub.com and have noticed a few people drinking Bud Light but in my obesrvations it’s less than half of what it was prior to the blunder. In fact, I’ve even overhead others say “oh, he got a Bud Light” when someone orders that beer, as if that’s some kind of male sin these days.
There was a time when Bud Light marketed to men in ways that went beyond the ads you see on TV. It was in the bars and at sporting events, often using very attractive Bud Light girls as promotional girls. They would go into bars handing out Bud Light Mardi Gras beads, bottle openers and other inexpensive items. For years, they were as much as part of the AVP beach volleyball events in Southern Califonia as the players.
They should have stuck to that strategy. It’s going to take time and a whole lot of money to win back its core drinkers.
About PubClub.com And Kevin Wilkerson
PubClub.com is one of the original websites on the Internet. It features articles on nightlife, food & drink, events, activities, travel and sports. It has been featured in USA Today, the LA Times and American Way magazine, among other publications and for several years worked closesly with Anheuser Busch in Southern California. Kevin Wilkerson is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in daily newspapers and with the Associated Press. He has drank beer in pubs and clubs throughout the world and is an authoritative figure on the topics covered by the website.