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Bud Light Pulls a Bill Buckner

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As I’m sure you know, Bud Light developed a partnership with Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender social media influencer who seems to enjoy dressing up like a woman headed out for a dance at the Ritz. Hair, makeup jewelry and all. It was all a play to endear the brand to a segment of Mulvaney’s transgender audience. To press their point, Bud Light also trumpeted a can decorated with a picture of Mulvaney in full designer regalia.

The market reaction was swift. Sales of Bud Light have fallen at least 20% each week since the debut. But as Han Solo famously said, “It’s worseâ€. Overall Budweiser sales have declined by 11% and Mich Ultra is also down. Worse yet, the brands competitors sales are up. Great Zot.

As if that’s not enough, Senator Cruz of Texas has called for an investigation of the AB/Mulvaney partnership on the grounds that Mulvaney’s audience targets a buyer too young to purchase the product. Such a strategy may fairly be called grooming. Holy Moley.

How did this happen? I believe that the marketing light weights at Bud Light did not know its audience, but at the very least should have pre-tested the idea with the core buyer. Or maybe they knew but were seduced by the social mission and weren’t bothered by the implications of this affiliation. An “I’ll teach the market a thing or two about what I believe, and they should be believing it too†kind of a lesson. Either arrogant or stupid. Probably both.

Many brands have tribal identities and the buyer may believe “I’m a Bud Light kinda guyâ€.

It appears the market has voted their brand loyalties and didn’t wish to affiliate with Dylan Mulvaney or even be seen having a quaff and having others believe you are like him. Such is the power of brand affiliations.

Sometimes so-called marketing machines like AB don’t pay attention to one of the most sacred of commandments….Know Thy Audience or risk making Miller Light or Pabst Blue Ribbon drinkers out of your core buyers.