In the wake of the controversy surrounding a divisive Bud Light campaign, Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth has chosen not to provide a clear answer regarding the company’s potential partnership with transgender TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney in the future.
Discussing the matter in an interview with CBS Mornings, Whitworth acknowledged the challenging weeks that Anheuser-Busch has experienced due to the heated conversation surrounding Bud Light. He recognized that the focus had shifted away from the brand and its product, resulting in negative consequences for the business.
Addressing the “One Can” Controversy, Whitworth downplayed its significance, referring to it as a minor issue. However, he acknowledged the impact of the fallout on the company’s employees, consumers, and partners, accepting responsibility as the CEO.
When questioned about the possibility of collaborating with Mulvaney again, Whitworth evaded a direct response. He emphasized the importance of major brands like Anheuser-Busch being engaged in significant societal discussions and understanding and addressing consumer desires, expectations, and concerns.
Despite the recent turmoil, Whitworth reaffirmed Bud Light’s longstanding support for the LGBTQ+ community, dating back to 1998. He expressed the brand’s commitment to continuing their support for communities and organizations they have backed for decades. However, Whitworth also expressed a desire to refocus on brewing exceptional beer for all consumers while actively listening to their needs.
The discontent surrounding Pride Month campaigns has placed corporations in a challenging position, particularly when targeting younger audiences. CNBC reported that companies could face difficult decisions in the future. Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light, which suffered a significant decline in brand reputation after partnering with Mulvaney, has been dethroned as America’s top-selling beer by Modelo. Anson Frericks, a former Anheuser-Busch executive, suggested that companies need a better understanding of their audience in such circumstances.
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