Bud Light’s sales have been on a downward trend following a controversial marketing campaign that had a significant impact on the brand’s image and may have caused long-term damage. The decline in sales can be attributed to a boycott that emerged after the company’s sponsorship deal with actress and TikToker Dylan Mulvaney on April 1. This partnership was part of a broader campaign aimed at addressing Bud Light’s sales decline and attracting a younger audience. Mulvaney, a transgender woman and activist, promoted Bud Light beer during the March Madness period.
However, the video featuring Mulvaney triggered a substantial backlash from American conservatives, with singer Kid Rock playing a notable role in instigating a boycott against Bud Light and its parent company, Anheuser-Busch. In the month following the advertisement, Bud Light’s sales experienced a decline ranging from 11 to 26 percent, while Anheuser-Busch’s sales dropped around 1 percent.
The boycott led many consumers to refrain from purchasing Bud Light or any other Anheuser-Busch products at bars and stores. Numerous conservative commentators, politicians, and celebrities actively participated in the boycott. Notably, Kid Rock filmed himself shooting three cases of Bud Light with an MP5 submachine gun while wearing a MAGA hat, expressing his disapproval of Bud Light and Anheuser-Busch.
As of May 6, the video has garnered over 11 million views. Country artist Travis Tritt also joined Kid Rock in advocating for the boycott, removing all Anheuser-Busch products from his upcoming concert tour. He criticized the company for selling out to Europeans and losing its recognition among American consumers. Other outspokenly conservative musicians like Ted Nugent and John Rich also voiced their support for the boycott and distanced themselves from Anheuser-Busch.
Social media platforms such as TikTok and Twitter witnessed videos of people smashing, discarding, and running over Bud Light bottles, accompanied by a TikTok sound criticizing Anheuser-Busch for the controversial advertisement. These posts often showcased liquor store beer aisles with an absence of Bud Light products. Additionally, during the boycott, some threats were made against Anheuser-Busch factories, including bomb threats that led to the closure of certain facilities.
In response to the backlash, Anheuser-Busch attempted to distance itself from Mulvaney, but this move led to members of the LGBT community initiating their own boycott against the company, with several prominent gay bars in Chicago taking the lead.