Mass boycotts across America, billions of dollars down the drain and bomb threats aren’t what the marketing executives of Bud Light had in mind when they brought in transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney for a new partnership.
But that’s exactly what happened.
For decades, Bud Light has been a staple in homes across the United States as the country’s top-selling beer but those days are fast disappearing with millions ditching the brand.
It all kicked off with Mulvaney, 26, sharing a video to her 10.8 million Instagramfollowers of herself cracking open a can of Bud Light on April 1, along with the hashtag #budlightpartner. Mulvaney was even given a beer can with her face on it to celebrate the influencer’s first year as an openly transgender woman.
Marketing executives including Alissa Heinerscheid had hoped the partnership with the transgender influencer would freshen up Bud Light’s image – but instead, it very nearly destroyed it, with celebrities and customers slamming the company for going ‘woke’.
The company’s decision to partner with Mulvaney has become a symbol of how divisive transgender issues are in the US – and there are no signs that the anger or boycotts will stop any time soon almost six weeks on. Indeed, the global CEO of parent company Anheuser-Busch this week continued to deflect blame for the saga and instead blamed ‘social media’ for triggering the boycott which has seen Bud Light sales fall 21.4 per cent in April.