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Brand Purpose Brand Strategy Bud Light

Anheuser-Busch responds to backlash over Bud Light partnership with trans influencer


By Audrey Kemp, LA Reporter

April 14, 2023 | 12 min read

After a partnership between Bud Light and trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney sparked outcry on the right, Anheuser-Busch’s chief executive issued a public statement about “the importance of accountability.”

Dylan Mulvaney holding a can of Bud Light in an Instagram post

Beverage giant Anheuser-Busch has responded to boycotts over its partnership with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney / Dylan Mulvaney via Instagram

Beer giant Anheuser-Busch, which owns brands like Stella Artois, Michelob Ultra and Budweiser, today issued a statement from chief executive Brendan Whitworth after a recent brand deal with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney received backlash among consumers and in the media – the fallout of which sparked boycotts among some conservative consumers.

“We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people,” the statement reads. “We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.”

On Twitter, many conservative users appear to be unsatisfied with the statement, claiming it says nothing and others enouraging a continued boycott.

One week ago, Bud Light partnered with Mulvaney – a trans influencer who rose to fame on TikTok for her ‘365 days of girlhood’ series – for an NCAA March Madness brand contest. As part of the campaign, Bud Light sent Mulvaney a package of branded beer cans emblazoned with an image of her face. The creator took to social media, where she cheerfully showed off the beer.

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The campaign received mixed responses with consumers. Among those outraged was musician Kid Rock, who posted on Instagram a video of himself firing an AR-style rifle at cans of Bud Light. Meanwhile, country music star John Rich removed Bud Light from his Nashville bar and artist Travis Tritt tweeted that he would drop all Anheuser-Busch products from his tour.

On Monday, Tucker Carlson, the divisive host of Fox News’ talk show Tucker Carlson Tonight, interviewed Bud Light’s vice-president of marketing Alissa Heinerscheid about the campaign, during which she described Bud Light’s new branding objective being “about inclusivity [and] shifting the tone” and a campaign that feels “lighter and brighter.”

Following her segment, Carlson said: “Is there anyone more out-of-touch than that woman? Is that woman the perfect physical embodiment of the problem in America? Yes.”

In the statement, Anheuser-Busch’s Whitworth continued on to say: “My time serving this country taught me the importance of accountability and the values upon which America was founded: freedom, hard work and respect for one another … Moving forward, I will continue to work tirelessly to bring great beers to consumers across our nation.”

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