Bud Light Controversy – Is All Publicity Good?
“All publicity is good publicity,” the famous quote attributed to the 19th century circus owner, Phineas T. Barnum has been used often in the beer industry. But the recent controversy surrounding the partnership between Bud Light and transgender influencer and activist Dylan Mulvaney may call that into question.
According to the New York Post, Anheuser-Busch saw its value drop more than $5 billion since the controversy began in early April. Since then, AB shares have fallen by nearly 4% — knocking down the company’s market capitalization from $132.38 billion to $127.13 billion.
The publicity hit mainstream when musician Travis Tritt announced he was boycotting Bud Light to protest the Mulvaney-Bud Light partnership. It went downhill fast from there when musician Kidd Rock was shown on a video shooting cans of Bud Light with a rifle to express his opinion.
But there has been plenty of support as well, both from the music world (including Sheryl Crow and others) and from the public.
Since the calls for a boycott of the beer began, Bud Light remained silent on its social media channels for nearly two weeks before breaking that silence on Friday with social media posts and a message from the parent company’s chief executive.
Has it helped or hurt the brand? Only time will tell, and even then there may not be an obvious answer. As both good and bad publicity is known to do, it has given the brand attention, but in a world where almost any topic becomes politicalized, it may polarize the brand’s customer base. While some have accused Bud Light of betraying many of its traditional consumers, others have argued that the partnership was part of a push to expand into other demographics in a bid to increase its customer base, including those who would not traditionally purchase a Bud Light. Like many issues in todays political world; it’s complicated, it’s divided and it’s unfortunate.