Anheuser Busch has sparked strong emotions with a new online advertising campaign for Bud Light in the US. Most notably, the more conservative clientele was bothered by new brand ambassador Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender influencer and activist who has documented her first year of transition to womanhood for her more than 10 million TikTok followers.
Activists' call for a boycott caused the company's value to drop by more than USD 5 billion in the first few days of the campaign. While many have accused Bud Light of defrauding its traditional consumers, others have argued that the partnership was part of a push to increase its customer base, including those who would not buy the product conventionally.
Special Bud Light cans were made for the partnership, featuring Mulvaney's likeness, which the social media star shared in videos and photos.
While the row has sparked a broader debate about the acceptance of transgender people in public life, the CEO of Anheuser Busch felt compelled to make an official statement today.
“As the CEO of a company founded in America’s heartland more than 165 years ago, I am responsible for ensuring every consumer feels proud of the beer we brew,” Brendan Whitworth, CEO of Anheuser Busch said today. “We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people. We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.
“My time serving this country taught me the importance of accountability and the values upon which America was founded: freedom, hard work and respect for one another. As CEO of Anheuser-Busch, I am focused on building and protecting our remarkable history and heritage,” he said.