Is Bud Light’s Controversy Impacting its Summer Campaign?
Lessons Learned from Bud Light
The importance of standing behind the statements you make.
So far, 2023 has been a challenging year for Bud Light. The controversy surrounding the brand’s partnership with transgender actor and TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney caused a significant backlash from both conservative audiences and the LGBTQ+ community. The company tried to distance itself from the partnership, which only exacerbated the situation. As a result, Bud Light experienced a considerable drop in sales and a dip in stock price.
One of the lessons marketers can learn from Bud Light’s missteps is the importance of standing behind the statements you make. Despite the criticism, Bud Light has a long history of LGBTQ+-inclusive marketing and has been in partnership with GLAAD since 1998. By downplaying their partnership with Mulvaney, the brand made their prior inclusive marketing efforts appear inauthentic, thus alienating customers.
Knowing your audience.
Another lesson to take from Bud Light’s controversy is the significance of understanding your audience. The reaction to Bud Light’s new ad, “Easy to Summer,” suggests that brands need to understand the segments of their audience and tread carefully with comedic content. There’s a difference between customers feeling like they’re in on the joke and feeling like they are the joke. Bud Light’s audience was already on high alert, and the comedic tone of the ad was lost when they felt like they were being portrayed as dumb or incompetent.
In an attempt to overcome the controversy surrounding its brand, Bud Light recently released a new ad called “Easy to Summer.” However, the initial response to the ad indicates that Bud Light may have missed the mark once again. Viewers expressed disdain for the ad, claiming that it portrays Bud Light drinkers as stupid. This is not the kind of reaction any marketer wants from their viewers.
The “Bud Light effect,” as it has come to be known, serves as a cautionary tale for companies discussing controversial topics. While it’s essential to be inclusive and align with your company’s values, it’s equally crucial to stand behind the statements you make and understand your audience. Bud Light’s missteps have undoubtedly impacted their sales and stock price, highlighting the potential consequences of mishandling sensitive issues.
As the summer approaches, it remains to be seen if Bud Light can overcome these missteps and regain the trust of its customers. Marketers should take note of the lessons learned from Bud Light’s controversy and strive to navigate delicate topics with sensitivity and authenticity. In doing so, they can avoid alienating their audience and maintain a positive brand image.