Bud Light has resorted to handing out free beer as the brand’s efforts to squash the backlash to its Dylan Mulvaney deal become increasingly desperate.
Bosses have also promised to boost marketing spending and ramp up ad production after an industry expert said Bud’s ‘compass is completely broken’ over its failure to deal with the fallout.
Sales of Bud Light are in free fall after its disastrous partnership with Mulvaney, 26, which was announced in March. The controversial trans influencer was sent a can with her face on it to celebrate a year since she transitioned from male to female.
Anheuser-Busch, the beer’s parent company and America’s largest brewer, said it will hand a free case over beer to every employee of its wholesaler network – which consists of many family-run businesses who’ve been badly hurt by the scandal.
Figures from Bump Williams Consulting, which specializes in the alcohol industry, show in-store sales fell 26 percent in the week ending April 22. The decline in the week previously was 21 percent and the week before that sales fell 11 percent.
Bump Williams, the founder of the firm, said Bud Light must apologize and added: ‘Right now their compass is completely broken. There’s no game plan.’
Williams said that without a clear plan to navigate the backlash and turn around the decline in sales, ‘Bud Light is in serious trouble this year’. He said the brand is still the biggest-selling in America, but risks being overtaken by Modelo Especial by the end of the year if the backlash continues.
His assessment comes after another PR expert told DailyMail.com that Bud Light must properly address the issue or ‘they’re only going to further hurt themselves’.
Bud’s current responses have been mealy-mouthed explanations of the Mulvaney partnership without a concrete apology to angry customers.
The outrage deepened when comments surfaced from Bud Light executive, Alissa Heinerscheid, who said the beer needed to update its ‘fratty’ and ‘out of touch’ branding.