CEO Issues ‘We Hear You’ Statement After Controversial Bud Light Campaign

Anheuser-Busch, one of the world’s largest beer producers, released a statement addressing the significant backlash it has faced since its brand, Bud Light, partnered with a controversial transgender activist for a paid marketing engagement. The decision has resulted in a substantial decline in sales for Bud Light, as well as negative impacts on other Anheuser-Busch brands. Despite the public discontent, the company’s CEO, Brendan Whitworth, seemed to acknowledge the consequences and outlined three actions to address the situation.

Following the controversial marketing partnership, Bud Light has experienced a staggering decline in sales, plummeting by over 25%. Competing brands have seized the opportunity, witnessing a substantial increase in their own sales. Notably, other Anheuser-Busch brands, including Budweiser (-11.2%), Michelob Ultra (-6.5%), Busch Light (-5.2%), and Natural Light (-4.9%), have also suffered notable setbacks, as revealed by recent reports.

In the statement, Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth acknowledged the impact of the backlash on the company’s stakeholders. He recognized that the discussion surrounding the company and Bud Light had shifted away from beer, adversely affecting consumers, business partners, and employees.

Whitworth emphasized that Anheuser-Busch is fundamentally a beer company, stating, “We recognize that over the last two months, the discussion surrounding our company and Bud Light has moved away from beer, and this has impacted our consumers, our business partners, and our employees,” the statement began. “We are a beer company, and beer is for everyone.”

Whitworth outlined three significant actions that the company plans to undertake to address the repercussions of the controversial marketing engagement. Firstly, Anheuser-Busch will invest in protecting the jobs of its frontline employees, demonstrating its commitment to supporting its workforce during this challenging period. Secondly, the company will provide financial assistance to independent wholesalers, enabling them to support their employees during this tumultuous time.

“First, we are investing to protect the jobs of our frontline employees,” he said. “Second, we are providing financial assistance to our independent wholesalers to help them support their employees.”

In his final point, CEO Brendan Whitworth addressed the company’s valued consumers, indicating that Anheuser-Busch has listened to their concerns. He revealed that the upcoming summer advertising campaign will reinforce the aspects that consumers have always loved about the Bud Light brand: its easy-drinking and enjoyable nature. Whitworth expressed the company’s determination to refocus on brewing great beer and earning its place in moments that matter to its customers.

“Our summer advertising launches next week, and you can look forward to Bud Light reinforcing what you’ve always loved about our brand – that it’s easy to drink and easy to enjoy,” he said. “As we move forward, we will focus on what we do best – brewing great beer and earning our place in moments that matter to you.”

Notably, the statement did not include an apology for the controversial marketing engagement with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. While the omission may disappoint some critics, it appears that Anheuser-Busch is prioritizing moving forward and refocusing on its core business rather than addressing the specific concerns raised by the backlash.