Anheuser-Busch InBev may soon lose its coveted title of the world's No.1 beer brand, as Bud Light's sales numbers continue to plummet.
Sales for Bud Light have dramatically declined since the brand partnered with influencer Dylan Mulvaney, a man who identifies as a woman and documented his “gender transition” on TikTok. According to NielsenIQ data shared with The New York Post, sales for Bud Light fell a staggering 25.7% during the week ending May 20. This could soon place its status as the world’s top beer brand in jeopardy.
The stark decrease in sales is not limited just to Bud Light; sales have decreased for other Anheuser-Busch-owned brands, such as Budweiser (11.2% decrease) and Michelob Ultra (6.5% decrease). Constellation Brands' Modelo Especial, which saw sales increase by 9.2%, could overtake Bud Light if the trend continues.
“While Bud Light loses week after week, Modelo Especial gains week after week and now Modelo outsells Bud Light on a national basis across all trade channels combined,” Bump Williams said.
Anheuser-Busch's controversial partnership has left the company facing criticism from both sides of the aisle. Owners of gay bars have threatened to launch boycotts after the company issued a statement interpreted as downplaying the alliance, while the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) removed Anheuser-Busch's perfect score for the Corporate Equality Index.
The company's commitment to environmental, social, and economic (ESG) principles has left some analysts skeptical of the company's motives. While the company touts its progressiveness, the more concerning elements (such as its involvement with Mulvaney) can overshadow other initiatives.
The beer giant's recent decline in sales could be a cautionary tale for Target Corporation, which is facing its own struggle following a potential misstep in marketing a female swimsuit. Target's stock value has dropped significantly in recent days after the firm hired an artist who previously created Satanic items to create new designs for the company.
These stiff market consequences are likely to influence other companies strongly considering activism in their marketing efforts. Although Anheuser-Busch and Target had good intentions, they could soon discover that politics can be a precarious hill to die on.