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King of beers no more: How Bud Light lost its crown on August 3, 2023 at 10:00 am Business News | The Hill

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Bud Light has been locked for months in a contentious dispute with its consumer base over a brief partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney that has cost the brand and its parent company, Anheuser-Busch, billions in market value.

The brewing giant this week said it plans to lay off hundreds of U.S. corporate employees in an announcement that was celebrated by conservative leaders who have voiced opposition to Bud Light’s partnership with Mulvaney and the expansion of transgender rights more broadly. The company did not mention Mulvaney or the ongoing controversy in its announcement.

Mulvaney, a transgender influencer who has shared her transition journey with followers online, in April shared a sponsored post to her Instagram page promoting Bud Light’s annual March Madness sweepstakes, kicking off a deluge of conservative criticism over the company’s partnership with an openly transgender woman.

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Right-wing celebrities, media personalities and even politicians responded to Mulvaney’s post by uploading videos of themselves destroying cases of Bud Light to social media and calling for a nationwide boycott of the beer, which had at that point enjoyed a 22-year reign as the nation’s best-selling beer.

Conservative pundit Ben Shapiro decried Bud Light’s partnership with Mulvaney during an April 3 episode of his radio show, repeatedly misgendering Mulvaney and telling his listeners that they are being “forced to consume” products from companies including Anheuser-Busch that believe “men are women and women are men.”

The same day, singer-songwriter Kid Rock in a video posted to Instagram and X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, shot four cases of Bud Light with what appeared to be a semi-automatic rifle.

“F— Bud Light and f— Anheuser-Busch,” he said in the video, which has been viewed more than 53 million times on X and more than 1.8 million times on Instagram.

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In an April 5 statement on X, country music star Travis Tritt said all Anheuser-Busch products would be removed from his upcoming tour. “I know many other artists who are doing the same,” he said.

Other conservative figures publicly mischaracterized the brand’s brief partnership with Mulvaney – which consisted of a single 50-second Instagram video and an Instagram story post that disappeared after 24 hours – as a much larger marketing campaign meant to make both Bud Light and Mulvaney money.

The brand as part of the partnership also sent Mulvaney a custom Bud Light can with an illustration of her face on it, which was not commercially available.

Sales of Bud Light have dipped substantially since April, in part because of the backlash but also because beer has been steadily losing market share for the better part of the last decade (from 2011 to 2021, Anheuser-Busch fell from 46.9 percent of the market to 38.6 percent).

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Bud Light was unseated by Mexico’s Modelo Especial as the nation’s best-selling beer in May, with sales down nearly 25 percent from one year ago.

While it’s likely neither Bud Light nor Mulvaney anticipated the scale of the backlash or the financial fallout, the response from conservatives is not entirely unprecedented. The catchphrase “Go Woke, Go Broke” has been used in right-wing circles since at least 2018 to criticize corporations that align themselves with progressive causes.

Conservatives last year threatened to boycott Disney after the company spoke out publicly against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill – known to its critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill for its heavy restrictions on talk of sexual orientation and gender identity in public school classrooms.

In June, similar outrage was directed at retail giants Target and Kohl’s for selling LGBTQ Pride-themed merchandise. The British footwear company Dr. Martens this week received conservative backlash for sharing an Instagram photo of a pair of boots painted with an illustration that showed a person with top surgery scars.

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Transgender rights have also in recent years become a focal point of conservative politics in the U.S. This year alone, 566 bills targeting transgender Americans were introduced in 49 states, most of them by Republicans, who in a Pew Research Center poll conducted last year were most likely to say society has “gone too far” in accepting transgender people.

Two weeks after Mulvaney’s Instagram post, Anheuser-Busch CEO Brian Whitworth responded to the backlash with a written statement that distanced the company from the influencer.

“We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people,” Whitworth wrote in the April 14 statement, which does not mention Mulvaney or the backlash outright. “We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.”

The same day, Bud Light’s social media accounts posted for the first time since the controversy began, opening the floodgates to users determined to make their position on the company’s partnership with Mulvaney known. A simple “TGIF?” tweet garnered more than 33,000 replies, many of them referencing Mulvaney. The post has been viewed more than 12.5 million times.

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In addition to conservative critics, those who support Bud Light’s partnership with Mulvaney and transgender rights more broadly have also played a role in the beverage’s fall from grace.

Virtually all sides in the debate have criticized Anheuser-Busch’s relatively tepid response to the backlash as insufficient for not taking a firm stance either way.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights group, in May suspended its benchmark equality and inclusion rating for Anheuser-Busch, citing the company’s handling of the backlash. The previous month, the organization, in a letter to an Anheuser-Busch executive, admonished the company’s lukewarm response, including Whitworth’s April 14 statement.

“In this moment, it is absolutely critical for Anheuser-Busch to stand in solidarity with Dylan and the trans community,” the letter said.

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Anheuser-Busch since sales began falling in April has attempted to court both liberals and conservatives to recoup some of its losses. In June, the company aired a series of television ads leaning into football and country music – themes that resonate with conservatives.

Also in June, Anheuser-Busch told the Daily Beast it is “committed to the programs and partnerships we have forged over decades with organizations across a number of communities, including those in the LGBTQ+ community.”

Still, sales of Bud Light remain soft. For the four weeks ending July 1, Modelo Especial captured 8.7 percent of overall beer sales, compared to Bud Light’s 7 percent share, CNN reported last month.

For her part, Mulvaney has remained relatively quiet on the issue, absent the handful of mental health updates she’s shared with her followers since April. She explicitly addressed the ongoing controversy in a June TikTok video that criticized Bud Light and Anheuser-Busch’s failure to publicly support her and the transgender community at large in the face of a widespread hate campaign.

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“For a company to hire a trans person and then not publicly stand by them is worse in my opinion than not hiring a trans person at all because it gives customers permission to be as transphobic and hateful as they want,” Mulvaney said. “And the hate doesn’t end with me. It has serious and grave consequences for our community.”

“To turn a blind eye and pretend everything is OK, it just isn’t an option right now,” she said.

–Updated at 6:21 a.m.

​State Watch, Business, LGBTQ, News, Anheuser-Busch, Bud Light, Dylan Mulvaney, Kid Rock, LGBTQ rights, Transgender rights Bud Light has been locked for months in a contentious dispute with its consumer base over a brief partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney that has cost the brand and its parent company, Anheuser-Busch, billions in market value. The brewing giant this week said it plans to lay off hundreds of U.S. corporate employees in an announcement…  

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6 Essential Productivity Hacks for Entrepreneurs

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Are you tired of feeling like your business is stuck in neutral? Well, buckle up, because we are about to share six secrets to help you shift into high gear and leave the competition in the dust.

1. Set Goals That Don’t Suck
Ditch those vague, lofty goals and get specific. What do you want to achieve? How are you going to do it? Write it down, make it happen.
  • Actionable Step: Write a goal that’s so specific, it’s almost boring. Then, create a task list that’s so detailed, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it.
2. Prioritize Like a Boss
Use the Eisenhower Matrix to sort tasks into urgent vs. important. Focus on the stuff that’ll make a real impact, and delegate or eliminate the rest.
  • Actionable Step: Use a task management tool like Trello or Asana to prioritize tasks. Then, focus on the high-priority ones first, and delegate the rest to your team (or your cat, if that’s who you’re working with).
3. Leverage Tech to Your Advantage
Ditch the paper and pen, and get with the times. Use project management tools, accounting software, and marketing automation platforms to streamline processes and boost efficiency.
  • Actionable Step: Explore tools like Trello, Asana, or ClickUp. Integrate them with your accounting software (like QuickBooks) and marketing automation platforms (like Mailchimp). Then, sit back and watch your productivity soar.

4. Delegate Like a Pro
Don’t be a control freak (unless that’s your thing, in which case, carry on). Delegate tasks to your team, or outsource them to freelancers or agencies.
  • Actionable Step: Identify tasks that can be delegated or outsourced. Then, assign them to your team, or hire a freelancer/agency to do them for you. Voila! More free time for you.
5. Optimize Processes, Eliminate Waste
Analyze your processes, eliminate the waste, and implement efficient systems for tasks like customer service, inventory management, and marketing.
  • Actionable Step: Identify inefficient processes. Optimize them, and implement new systems to enhance productivity. Then, sit back and watch your business thrive.
6. Prioritize Self-Care (Because You’re Not a Robot)
Don’t neglect your physical and mental well-being. Schedule time for exercise, meditation, and self-care to maintain peak performance.
  • Actionable Step: Schedule a daily self-care session. Use it for exercise, meditation, or reading. Then, wonder how you ever managed without it.
So, there you have it – six strategies to help you boost productivity and efficiency in your small business. We hope you find this helpful!

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Saudi Arabia Says ‘Thank You, Next’ to the US Dollar

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Saudi Arabia is reportedly considering abandoning the US dollar for oil trade settlements, a move that could shake the foundations of the global financial system. For decades, the petrodollar system has propped up the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency, with Saudi Arabia insisting on dollar payments for its vast oil exports.

However, recent comments from Saudi officials hint at exploring alternatives to the dollar amid growing tensions with the US over various geopolitical issues and the rise of economic powerhouses like China.

Implications of a Petrodollar Shift

If Saudi Arabia abandons the petrodollar, the implications could be significant:

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1. Dollar Dominance Eroded: The dollar’s reserve currency status could weaken, potentially leading to a decline in its value.
2. Global Financial Instability: A sudden shift could trigger volatility in global markets as investors adjust portfolios.
3. Geopolitical Realignment: The move could signal Saudi alignment with China and challenge US economic hegemony.

Challenges and Uncertainties

While the prospect is significant, challenges remain:

1. Finding a suitable alternative currency with the dollar’s liquidity and stability.
2. Potential economic disruption for Saudi Arabia and trading partners.
3. Political backlash and strained relations with the US and allies.

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As the world watches, it remains uncertain whether Saudi Arabia’s comments signal a negotiating tactic or a profound shift in the global financial order.

 

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Are Babies the New Luxury Item?

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The declining birth rate is a global phenomenon, but Gen Z’s approach to parenthood is particularly striking. This generation, born between 1997 and 2012, appears to be grappling with the decision to have children in unprecedented ways, raising concerns about a potential “extinction by choice.”

One of the primary factors influencing Gen Z’s hesitancy towards reproduction is the escalating cost of living and financial burdens associated with raising children. According to a Newsweek survey, 53% of Gen Zers aged 18-24 expressed that they would consider having children if the financial burden were lessened. The staggering costs of childcare, education, and basic necessities have made the prospect of parenthood daunting for many young adults.

Like previous generations, Gen Zers are delaying parenthood, with many prioritizing education, career development, and financial stability before starting families. The average age of first-time mothers has risen from 24.9 years in 2000 to 27.1 years in 2020, reflecting this trend. Additionally, changing societal norms and a focus on personal freedom have contributed to a shift in priorities, with some Gen Zers opting for a childfree lifestyle.

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Gen Z’s heightened social awareness and concerns about global issues, such as climate change, political instability, and economic uncertainty, have also played a role in their decision-making process regarding parenthood. Many Gen Zers have expressed reservations about bringing children into an unstable world, further contributing to the declining birth rate.[2]

The lack of comprehensive family-friendly policies, such as affordable childcare, paid family leave, and workplace flexibility, has made it challenging for Gen Z mothers to balance work and family life. According to reports, Gen Z mothers are 2.5 times less likely than Millennial moms to have job flexibility and half as likely to have paid maternity leave.

While the declining birth rate among Gen Z is a complex issue with multiple contributing factors, addressing financial concerns, promoting work-life balance, and implementing family-friendly policies may help encourage sustainable population growth in the future. However, if the current trends persist, Gen Z’s hesitancy towards reproduction could have far-reaching implications for the future of societies and economies worldwide.

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