In April, 2023 a boycott was launched against Anheuser-Busch, because of marketing practices on its Bud Light products.
The boycott was triggered by a sponsorship the company conducted with actress and TikTok personality Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender woman and activist. The backlash from anti-trans individuals, critics of Mulvaney, and American conservatives led to a significant decline in Bud Light’s sales, with figures ranging from 11% to 26% in the month following the advertisement. Anheuser-Busch’s sales also fell about 1%, and their stocks experienced a significant drop, leading to classification as a bear stock by Forbes.
The controversy surrounding the sponsorship of Mulvaney by Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light sparked debates between those in favor of the boycott and those against it. Many conservative commentators, politicians, and celebrities participated in the boycott, with some even filming themselves destroying or discarding Bud Light products. On the other hand, some individuals questioned the backlash against Mulvaney and expressed support for her.
Anheuser-Busch responded to the boycott by stating that the sponsorship was not intended to divide people and that they are focused on bringing people together over a beer. They canceled Budweiser Clydesdales events due to safety concerns and made changes within their marketing team. The boycott had a significant impact on Bud Light’s sales, prompting the company to increase support to wholesalers and triple Bud Light’s advertising budget in an attempt to recover.
The boycott also had consequences for Anheuser-Busch’s reputation and stock valuation. The company’s top rating for LGBTQ+ equality was rescinded by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, and their stock shares fell by 20%. Other beer companies, such as Molson Coors and the Boston Beer Company, experienced increases in sales during this period.
Overall, the boycott against Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light had a significant impact on their sales and stock performance, leading to changes in their marketing strategy and efforts to recover from the decline.
Other product boycotts like the Bud Light incident
Product boycotts have a long history in the United States, often serving as a means for consumers to express their dissatisfaction or voice their concerns about various issues. Here is an overview of the history of product boycotts in the USA:
- Civil Rights Movement: The civil rights era of the 1950s and 1960s witnessed significant boycotts as part of the larger struggle for racial equality. Notable examples include the Montgomery Bus Boycott, sparked by Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her bus seat, and the United Farm Workers’ grape boycott, led by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, which aimed to improve the working conditions of farm laborers.
- Anti-Apartheid Movement: During the 1980s, there was a widespread movement in the United States advocating for divestment from companies doing business in apartheid-era South Africa. Activists called for boycotts of products and institutions with ties to the South African government, pushing for social and political change.
- Nestlé Boycott: In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a boycott was launched against Nestlé, a multinational corporation, for its aggressive marketing of infant formula in developing countries. Activists claimed that the promotion of formula over breastfeeding led to health issues for infants. The boycott sought to raise awareness and promote ethical marketing practices.
- Nike Boycott: In the late 1990s, Nike faced criticism for alleged labor abuses and poor working conditions in its overseas factories. Activists and labor rights organizations called for a boycott of Nike products, urging the company to improve labor standards and worker treatment. This boycott raised awareness about sweatshop labor and led to changes in Nike’s practices.
- Chick-fil-A Boycott: In 2012, Chick-fil-A, a fast-food chain, faced a boycott after its CEO made public statements opposing same-sex marriage. The controversy sparked a nationwide debate and drew attention to the intersection of business, personal beliefs, and social issues.
- Boycotts in the Digital Age: With the rise of social media, online platforms have become instrumental in organizing and spreading awareness about boycotts. Companies such as Uber, Papa John’s, and Goya Foods have faced boycotts due to controversies surrounding their leadership or political stances. Social media enables boycott movements to gain traction quickly and reach a wide audience.
Boycotts can be a powerful tool for consumers to express their concerns, influence corporate behavior, and bring attention to social and political issues. They have played a significant role in shaping public discourse and impacting business practices throughout the history of the United States.
Bud Light is a flagship brand of Anheuser-Busch InBev, one of the largest beer companies in the world. It was created in response to the growing demand for lighter and lower-calorie beer options. Bud Light was specifically developed to appeal to a wider consumer base looking for a lighter alternative to regular beers.
One of the defining characteristics of Bud Light is its lightness in terms of both flavor and body. It has a crisp and clean taste that is often described as refreshing. This light profile makes it an easy-drinking beer that is popular among individuals who prefer milder flavors or enjoy sessionable beers that can be consumed over an extended period.
Bud Light is brewed using a combination of high-quality ingredients, including malted barley, rice, water, hops, and yeast. The use of rice in the brewing process helps to create a lighter body and a smooth finish. The beer undergoes fermentation and aging to develop its characteristic flavors and achieve the desired level of alcohol content.
With its relatively low alcohol content, Bud Light is often favored by those who enjoy a more moderate drinking experience or who prefer to consume beer in larger quantities. It is commonly consumed at social gatherings, sporting events, and other casual occasions where people gather to enjoy a cold beverage.
Over the years, Bud Light has established itself as one of the leading beer brands in the United States. Its widespread availability, marketing campaigns, and partnerships with various sports leagues and events have contributed to its popularity. Bud Light has also introduced several flavor variations, such as Bud Light Lime, Bud Light Orange, and Bud Light Platinum, to offer consumers a range of options within the Bud Light family.