Bud Light Giving Away Free Beer, Will Triple Their Marketing Spend This Summer To Try To Stop The Bleeding From Boycott

Bud Light
Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Bud Light is ready to shell out some big money to stop the bleeding.

The iconic beer brand has been embroiled in controversy since its decision to partner with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney for a marketing campaign.

The decision was met with backlash from loyal customers of the beer brand, and drew plenty of criticism from the country music industry, with John Rich removing the beer from his bar and Travis Tritt announcing that he would be removing all Anheuser-Busch products from his tour rider.

Kid Rock posted a now viral video of himself shooting cases of Bud Light with a machine gun, and Brantley Gilbert spiked a can of Bud Light that was thrown to him onstage during a show.

Even Riley Green has started regularly changing the lyrics to one of his biggest hits, “I Wish Grandpas Never Died,” replacing “Bud Light” with “Coors Light” or other beer brands in the line “I wish coolers never run out of cold Bud Light.”

After video circulated of the executive responsible for the ad campaign, VP of Marketing Alissa Heinerscheid, talking about changing the image of Bud Light from “a brand of fratty, kind of out-of-touch humor,” it was announced that she would be taking a leave of absence, because apparently insulting your customers isn’t the best way to grow your brand.

Amidst the criticism and boycotts, Bud Light has been working hard to try to rehab its image with its core customer base, releasing a series of patriotic ads (including one featuring Zac Brown Band’s hit “Chicken Fried”) that critics have called “pandering” and describe as too little, too late.

And when you get a look at the numbers, you see why they’re working so hard to turn things around.

According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, a study by Bump Williams Consulting, which specializes in the alcoholic beverage industry, found that sales of Bud Light have dropped a staggering 26% in the past week, a bigger decrease than the 21% they had declined the week prior.

So not only has Bud Light failed to stop the bleeding: It’s actually getting worse.

And they’re going to pour a lot of money into trying to turn things around.

On a conference call with investors, Anheuser Busch CEO Michel Doukeris announced that the company will be tripling Bud Light’s advertising spend over the coming months in an attempt to win back customers.

The company will reallocate money from other markets to focus on marketing Bud Light in the United States, with an extra focus on music festivals and sporting events over the summer months.

And after bars at Stagecoach weren’t selling Bud Light (which was a presenting sponsor), it seems like they’ve got quite a bit of work to do at music festivals…

Doukeris also said that the beer should be the focus of their marketing, debates around social issues or other hot-button topics:

“Everything we do should be about beer and should promote beer. It is an essential part of life’s meaningful moments, whether in sports, music or celebrations.”

Things have gotten so bad for Bud Light that they’ve also had to start providing financial support to delivery drivers, sales representatives, wholesalers and others who are struggling the sharp decline in sales. And they’re also offering a free case of beer to every employee of an Anheuser-Busch wholesaler.

I guess we’ll see if more money and advertising is the answer to their problems. But if giving it away doesn’t work, it’s hard to tell what will.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock