Ex-Anheuser-Busch Exec Finally Admits Bud Light’s Dylan Mulvaney Partnership ‘Was A Mistake’
Bud Light has lost over $27 billion since teaming up with the transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney for an ad campaign back in April. Now, a former executive at Bud Light’s parent company is admitting that the Mulvaney partnership “was a mistake,” adding that he was “shocked” by it when it first came out.
1- “This weekend is make or break.”
Interesting article by Anson Frericks – former President of Anheuser Busch Sales & Distribution Co. (cont). pic.twitter.com/zrfk7DcuZl
— IT Guy (@ITGuy1959) July 1, 2023
Former Executive Sounds Off
Anson Frericks spent eleven years working for Anheuser-Busch, serving as president of operations until April of last year. In a new interview on Monday, Frericks admitted that he was “shocked” by how much money his former company had lost since the Mulvaney campaign.
“I think I’m even more shocked, though, about the lack of clear response that the current CEO has delivered during this crisis,” Frericks told Fox Business, referring to Anheuser-Bush CEO Brendan Whitworth.
Frericks went on to say that Whitworth “had had three chances now” to speak out, “most recently in the week leading up to July 4 — the No. 1 beer-selling week of the year — to have a clear response and get customers back.”
Frericks was likely referring to an interview Whitworth gave to CBS News at the end of June in which the CEO declined to rule out teaming up with Mulvaney again in the future. Instead of trying to distance his brand from Mulvaney, Whitworth tried to dance around any questions about the infamous ad campaign.
“There’s a big social conversation taking place right now, and big brands are right in the middle of it and it’s not just our industry or Bud Light,” Whitworth said. “It’s happening in retail, happening in fast food. And so for us what we need to understand is — deeply understand and appreciate — is the consumer and what they want, what they care about and what they expect from big brands.”
In response to recent controversy, @AnheuserBusch CEO Brendan Whitworth tells CBS Mornings that his company will continue to support the LGBTQ community.
He did not directly answer the questions of whether the promotional campaign with a transgender influencer was a mistake. pic.twitter.com/19PXJQkoem
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) June 28, 2023
What Whitworth Should Have Said
Frericks argued that Whitworth should have said, “Of course, this [partnership] was a mistake.’”
“‘We wouldn’t do this again ’cause we’ve lost billions of dollars of market caps,” he continued. “Our brands are down almost 30%, and all of a sudden, we’re putting a lot of our suppliers at risk, and they’re laying off hundreds of people from jobs at some of their suppliers.’”
“There’s going to be more employees at risk if we don’t find a CEO who can somehow address the situation, get those customers back that were always loyal to Bud Light and move this company forward,” he added.
That’s why Frericks is calling for Whitworth to step down and be replaced by a CEO who actually has a clear vision of how to save Bud Light.
“[Bud Light] was the largest brand in the U.S. because it was remarkably apolitical,” he stated. “It was always about sports, it was always about music, it was about bringing people together. That’s why it was a mistake that they did this campaign in the first place because they were unable to come out.”
Former Anheuseur-Busch executive has said that the backlash and boycott is ‘getting worse and worse’ after the brand reported a significant drop in sales for the 5th week in a row.
Anson Frericks told @FoxBusiness
"Consumers feel like they're having an impact. And every… pic.twitter.com/kUupZevKFE
— Oli London (@OliLondonTV) May 19, 2023
‘This Campaign Was A Mistake’
“This campaign was a mistake,” Frericks stated. “Anheuser-Busch will not be doing campaigns like this moving forward. We’ll get back to the things that bring everybody together. Hopefully that can protect the jobs at Anheuser-Busch, jobs at wholesalers and get this company back growing in the right direction.”
Frericks concluded by advising current executives at Anheuser-Busch to “harken back to what Bud Light always was, which is a great beer that was great to drink at football games and didn’t necessarily become part of the debate.”
Check out Frericks’ full comments on this in the video below.
It’s safe to say that Bud Light has learned the lesson of “go woke, go broke” the hard way over the past few months. While it’s looking less and less likely that this brand can ever be saved, starting over with a new CEO may be a good start. It’s not like Bud Light has much more to lose at this point anyway, so starting fresh with new leadership might be the best idea!
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