As it tries to distance itself from the uproar over Bud Light’s partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, Anheuser-Busch is now saying it has cut ties with the outside marketing agency it has blamed for the fiasco.
According to the New York Post, Anheuser-Busch sent a letter to distributors telling them it had deep-sixed the agency that put Mulvaney’s image on a Bud Light can and sent it to him for a social media promotion.
The brewing giant, which has been stung by a boycott sparked by its partnership with Mulvaney, said it did not make the commemorative can.
“This was one single can given to one social media influencer,” a letter to retailers in the St. Louis area said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It was not made for production or sale to the general public. This can is not a formal campaign or advertisement.”
Grey Eagle, a company that distributes Anheuser-Busch products in the St. Louis area, added in its own letter that “the Bud Light can posted by a social media influencer that sparked all the conversation was provided by an outside agency without Anheuser-Busch management awareness or approval.”
“Since that time, the lack of oversight and control over marketing decisions has been addressed and a new VP of Bud Light marketing has been announced,” Grey Eagle’s letter said.
Anheuser-Busch has not identified the agency responsible for the Mulvaney brouhaha.
The agency Anomaly, which has produced ads for Bud Light, said it “was not involved in any way with the Dylan Mulvaney campaign,” the Post reported.
Earlier this week, CEO Michel Doukeris attempted to put out the flames in an earnings call with investors.
“We need to clarify the facts that this was one can, one influencer, one post and not a campaign,” he said Thursday.
Robert Lachky, a former chief creative officer at Anheuser-Busch, said the decision to work with Mulvaney was a mistake, according to the Post-Dispatch.
“The minute you step into the political or religious spectrum, when you know your target audience is going to have a real issue with this, you know you’ve alienated at least half of your target audience,” he said. “People don’t like getting preached to, especially when it comes to drinking beer.”
Lachky said current marketers do not have a good feel for Bud Light’s customers.
”None of these marketing folks has ever been to a NASCAR race; none has been to a football game or a rodeo,” he said. “That’s insanity. That’s marketing incompetence.”
Lachky was not going to give the company a pass on the mistake.
“Effectively, it took us 20 years to take Bud Light beer to the No. 1 beer in the country, and it took them one week to dismantle it,” he said, according to another report from the Post-Dispatch.
CORRECTION, May 8, 2023: After publication, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch revised a quote from Robert Lachky, a former chief creative officer at Anheuser-Busch. The corrected version is now included in this article: “Effectively, it took us 20 years to take Bud Light beer to the No. 1 beer in the country, and it took them one week to dismantle it.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.