Anheuser-Busch InBev is getting ready to pour cold beer on a brewing controversy.
After getting tangled in the nation’s culture wars with a Bud Light social-media promotion that included transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney — a move that unexpectedly resulted in boycotts, diminished sales and a decision to put on leave two marketing executives who oversaw the marketing effort — the company hopes to move on with a new ad campaign that focuses on the many summer activities that present an appropriate moment for the beer, one of the best-known beverages in the United States. “Good Times,” the sunny 1978 hit by the dance-music group Chic, plays throughout.
“We want to show up in all relevant occasions in summer — backyard barbecues, stadiums and sports venues,” says Todd Allen, an Anheuser-Busch veteran who was recently named vice president of Bud Light, in an interview. “That’s what counts and that’s what we are focused on.”
In addition to a broad ad campaign that Allen says will show up on primetime broadcast TV, cable, and sports programming, Anheuser-Busch plans to tap NFL players and country music stars to pitch Bud Light to the masses. Tyler Braden, Seaforth and others will take part in a Bud Light Backyard Tour that brings musicians to intimate locations. And NFL athletes Travis Kelce, George Kittle and Dak Prescott will star in other ads ahead of the the football league’s 2023-2024 season. What’s more, Anheuser-Busch will give away $10,000 each week to a fan; give consumers a chance to win $100 toward their bar tab; and offer rebates over July 4th weekend.
Anheuser-Busch has “more than tripled our already weighty national media investment” behind Bud Light, Allen says. The brewing company spent approximately $60.1 million across traditional media for Bud Light in 2022, according to Vivvix, a tracker of ad spend, and has already spent nearly $40.8 million behind the product in the first quarter of 2023.