Bud Light continues to face blowback over its ill-fated tie-up with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney — with social media users blasting the beer brand over its latest attempts to defuse the controversy this week.
The nation’s No. 1 beer posted the tagline “the best beer is an open beer” on Monday alongside a GIF of a person cracking open a can of Bud Light — but customers promptly clapped back.
“The best beer is any beer other than Bud Lite or AB products,” one user replied.
“What a fratty, out of touch thing to say,” another user sarcastically replied in nod to a podcast interview with Bud Light’s ex-marketing VP Alissa Heinerscheid that aired just days before Mulvaney shared an Instagram post tagged #budlightpartner and sent the beer brand to the front lines of a culture war.
During the podcast, Heinerscheid described her efforts to move Bud Light away from a “fratty” and “out-of-touch” image and attract new customers with a more “inclusive” approach.
After Mulvaney’s April 1 posts sparked calls for a boycott that have since erased $27 million from Anheuser-Busch’s market cap, Bud Light said that Heinerscheid was placed on leave.
A current regional head of marketing at the brewer told The Daily Caller late last month that Heinerscheid was actually “gone gone,” claiming that Anheuser-Busch refused to publicly use the word “fire” as it “opens up the potential for them to sue us.”
Heinerscheid was reportedly axed because “the wholesalers would have had an absolute HAY DAY with leadership if they didn’t remove her,” another source said.
She was replaced with Todd Allen, who was previously working as the vice president of global marketing for Budweiser.
Allen’s Linkedin page shows that he’s now heading up both Budweiser and Bud Light’s marketing efforts.
“Understandable that a GIF with a generic phrase is the best the Anheuser-Busch advertising team can come up with when it’s entire marketing budget is spent subsidizing rebates to give away Bud Light because no one will actually pay money for it,” another user wrote in response to the company’s Monday post.
Bud Light did, in fact, offer free beer over the July 4 weekend — typically the top beer-selling and -drinking holiday.
In another move to save face, the nation’s once top-selling beer was forced to resort to dishing out a $15 rebate on 15-pack cases of Budweiser, Bud Light, Budweiser Select or Budweiser Select 55.
Most cases of that size sell for less than $15.
The week ended July 1, Bud Light sales took a turn for the worse, plunging 28.5% — slightly worse than the 27.9% decline they suffered the previous week, according to Bump Williams, whose eponymous consulting firm crunched the latest numbers from NielsenIQ.
Anheuser-Busch’s corporate parent, AB InBev, meanwhile, has seen its stock price dip by more than 10% over the past six months.
At its peak just one day before Mulvaney shared pictures and videos with her millions of social media followers captioned with #budlightpartner, AB InBev enjoyed a share price of $66.73.
The price has since fallen, and is $56.02 as of Monday afternoon.
The rebates didn’t appear to do much to get Bud Light back into beer drinkers’ good graces.
The day before tweeting “the best beer is an open beer,” the brand shared a light-hearted commercial captioned “it’s fine, it is fine,” mimicking a popular meme which depicts a dog drinking coffee while his home is engulfed in flames.
The caption accompanied a video depicting a picnic-goer heartily devouring a watermelon while inclement weather sends others in the area scurrying for cover as paper plates and cans of Bud Light are sent flying.
The woman eating the watermelon observes the chaos surrounding her and simply continues on as if nothing happened.
Reaction on Twitter was scathing from users who continued to insist that Anheuser-Busch offer a full-throated apology for its decision to partner with Mulvaney.
“Uhhhh…nope. We are done with you,” wrote one Twitter user who urged a boycott of Bud Light.
Another Twitter user commented that the commercial was a depiction of what was taking place at Bud Light’s corporate office.
Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth has appeared determined to remain tight-lipped on the controversy, even failing to say whether the Mulvaney partnership was a mistake when pointedly asked during a “CBS Mornings” interview last month.
“There’s a big social conversation going on right now,” Whitworth said. “It’s moved away from beer,” and “Bud Light doesn’t belong in this divisive conversation.”
Meanwhie, Anheuser-Busch’s former president of operations, Anson Frericks, said on Monday that questions about whether the partnership with Mulvaney was a mistake are “softball questions.”
Whitworth should’ve said “of course this was a mistake, we wouldn’t do this again because we’ve lost billions of dollars in market cap, our brands are own almost 30% and all of sudden we’re putting a lot of our suppliers at risk,” Frericks told Fox Business.
Anheuser-Busch has lost more than $27 billion in market cap as a result of sending Mulvaney a custom can with her face on it to celebrate her “365 Days of Girlhood,” and also partnering with the trans star for a March Madness promotion.