The polarizing marketing partnership between beer giant Bud Light and trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney was launched without approval from senior executives of parent company Anheuser-Busch (AB), according to a new report.
The partnership unveiled on April 1 drew intense backlash from some quarters, with musician Kid Rock posting a video of himself shooting at cases of Bud Light, and country singers John Rich and Travis Tritt dropping ties with the brand.
But behind the scenes at AB, ‘no one at a senior level’ was aware of the partnership that has now dominated headlines for weeks, and the decision to include Mulvaney in the campaign was taken by a ‘low-level marketing staffer.’
The controversial partnership saw Mulvaney, a biological male who began transitioning in 2021, promote America’s bestselling beer to 11 million followers on social media in a series of partnered posts.
Mulvaney’s posts showed the influencer sitting in a bathtub and swigging from custom cans sporting her face.
But the posts, which were never shared by Bud Light or Anheuser-Busch social media profiles, sparked widespread fury with several celebrities swearing off the beer in protest.
Amid the backlash, AB’s market capitalization has dropped nearly $6billion in the past 10 days, a decline of nearly 5 percent, and the company continues to remain silent save for a short statement confirming the partnership.
That statement said the parent company supported Bud Light’s decision to work with Mulvaney, who ballooned to internet stardom over the past year.
‘Anheuser-Busch works with hundreds of influencers across our brands as one of many ways to authentically connect with audiences across various demographics,’ the statement read.
‘From time to time, we produce unique commemorative cans for fans and for brand influencers, like Mulvaney. This commemorative can was a gift to celebrate a personal milestone and is not for sale to the general public.’
Their doubling down only served to enrage customers more – and likely played some part in Anheuser-Busch’s recent market woes.