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With sales still down more than 25%, and no signs of this boycott ending, the marketing geniuses at Anheuser-Busch have responded with yet another dumb commercial. The newest one features NFL star Travis Kelce among the group of guys who grunt and groan as they sit down and quaff a beer. Notably, Kelce is the only one who is not holding a Bud Light.
Presumably, the ad shows that normal everyday people enjoy drinking Bud Light—as if this will counteract the absurd Dylan Mulvaney video. So, here are the questions: Is A-B really this clueless? Are they in total denial? And, why won’t they simply apologize?
To understand what’s going on here, you first have to appreciate that the people involved honestly believe that they have done nothing wrong. Indeed, this is all the fault of the customers, for being so backward. Shades of the cast and crew of “Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power” blaming its failure on the fanbase being so racist—and not letting them improve on Tolkien’s work.
In the case of A-B, brand-building occurred generations ago. Those in charge now are—at most—doing maintenance. Since they are also among the “best and the brightest,” their minds have been rotted out at the finest schools. Thus, they must always be in support of the next big thing. This includes, of course, non-stop virtue signaling. Fear not, the customers will soon catch up, right?
But, there was just too much wrong with the Dylan Mulvaney video and its special beer can. It was bad enough to simply give any attention to a transgender “influencer” (a term that has lost whatever meaning it ever had). Mulvaney was also poking fun at the notion of even following sports, with his snarky dismissal of the NCAA basketball tournament. In an astonishingly misguided effort to make the video appear more “real,” it didn’t even have a proper ending, but concluded with him saying in effect that he was done.
So, now what? A-B is committed to running more stupid commercials throughout the summer, and hosting more events featuring greedy athletes. But, it won’t do any good. Even if Brendan Whitworth, CEO of Anheuser-Busch, were to take out massive amounts of TV time to apologize, it’s simply too late.
The brand is dead, and will never be coming back. Why? Because there are precious few loyal customers who love the brand. There is nothing remotely special about a run-of-the-mill cheap light beer. At best, it was bought as a matter of habit, and habits can be broken. Not to mention that there are hundreds of other brands that can easily take its place.
Don’t be surprised if A-B tries to guilt trip the customers by describing how the sales drop has affected jobs at the bottling plants and with their distributors. But that too will backfire. Grab some popcorn and watch the destruction of a once invincible consumer brand. Dare I say it? Get woke, go broke.
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