By Bryan Chai, Is “misinformation” to blame for the dire straits that Bud Light and parent company Anheuser-Busch currently find themselves in? Anheuser-Busch CEO Michel Doukeris certainly seemed to think so when addressing investors during an earnings call on Thursday.
As Fox Business noted, while that earnings call covered the usual array of topics you’d expect when speaking to investors, Doukeris also addressed the transgender elephant in the room — that damaging advertising campaign launched with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
Working with Mulvaney has sparked a litany of headaches for the Belgian brewing company and its once-popular Bud Light brand.
Executives were put on leave. Sales cratered. Cachet with celebrities plummeted. Billions of dollars of market value were lost.
And public sentiment went flatter than an opened bottle of week-old Bud Light.
It’s all thanks to the beer company’s campaign with Mulvaney, which included a commemorative can and a video of Mulvaney drinking the beer while in a bath. But according to Doukeris, it was not a “campaign.”
“We need to clarify the facts that this was one can, one influencer, one post and not a campaign,” Doukeris told investors, explaining why he felt that the brouhaha over this “campaign” was largely based on the “misinformation” that Bud Light and Mulvaney were working more closely than they actually were.
Despite Doukeris’ tacit admission that working with Mulvaney has led to negative repercussions, he also stressed that Anheuser-Busch is more than equipped to rebound from the Mulvaney backlash, noting that nothing about the company’s longer-term outlook has changed.
“We believe we have the experience, the resources and the partners to manage this. And our four-year growth outlook is unchanged,” Doukeris told investors.
The beleaguered CEO also noted that Anheuser-Busch would be working to help alleviate the financial pain and stress that the lack of Bud Light sales was causing to delivery drivers, sales representatives, wholesalers, and bars. Doukeris noted that the company would be “providing direct financial support” to all those afflicted.
“We want to reiterate our support for our wholesaler partners and everyone who brings our great beers to the market,” Doukeris said. “I can tell you that we have the agility, resources and people to support the U.S. team and move forward.”
One reason for such optimism Doukeris cited was the company’s track record in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw swathes of bars and restaurants simultaneously closed across the country.
It is worth noting that, while yes, the financial ramifications may be similar to the Mulvaney backlash, the two are very different situations.
Nobody was blaming Bud Light for bar closures or anything of the sort. Bud Light was as blindsided as the rest of everyday Americans when the country shut down.
The Mulvaney, fiasco, meanwhile, has actively soured people on the brand.
Doukeris added: “We will continue to learn, meet the moment in time, all be stronger and we work tirelessly to do what we do best: Bring people together over a beer and creating a future of more cheers.”
Anheuser-Busch may very well rebound from this fiasco. But they have their work cut out for them, no matter how much the company CEO wants to blame “misinformation” for the outrage surrounding the brand.