Marketing Geniuses At Bud Light and Budweiser Forgot One Cardinal Rule: Don’t Hate Your Customer

OPINION | This article contains opinion that reflects the author's views.

Political commentator Suzanne Downing says Anheuser-Busch has “cratered the company’s reputation” because they forgot the cardinal rule of not hating your customer.

Downing notes that Anheuser-Busch is the largest beer maker in the world and produces six of the top 10 beer brands by volume. The company generates over $1 billion in sales each year.

Since the 1980s, the brand was one of “the most successful marketing organizations on the planet” alongside the NFL. Downing specifically mentions the “hilarious ‘Real Men of Genius’ ad campaign of the late 1990s.”

However, Bud Light executive Alissa Gordon Heinerscheid argued that the image of the company was too “fratty” as the company ushered in transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

Bud Light produced beer cans featuring Mulvaney’s face to celebrate “365 days of girlhood,” which marks Mulvaney’s gender transition from male to female.

“The real marketing men and women of genius over at Budweiser forgot one thing: Don’t hate your customer,” Downing writes.

“And that, beer lovers, is how transgender activist Mulvaney came to be the new face of Bud Light. Mulvaney, a TikTok star and transgender personality who has done incredibly well in the famous-for-being-famous space, has brought his version of come-hither trans sexuality into the brand best known for a low-calorie, low-carb buzz, with notes of hops and malt,” Downing continued.

“Pro-tip: You’ll never be able to replace all the customers you lose at once with your new target market,” she added.

“Real Men of Genius and Spuds McKenzie, the campaigns that built the brand, spoke to America with humor and storytelling,” Downing writes.

“Perhaps it is not just the customer that Bud Light has decided to hate,” she says. “Perhaps the corporate geniuses, looking for that ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) preferential scoring for investors, have simply decided to hate Americans because they are not woke enough or trans enough for the ‘evolving’ brand.”

“Good luck with that strategy, geniuses. As for Americans, this Bud may not be for you,” Downing concluded.