Bud Light's Flop Sweat Continues When It Finds It Can't Sell Beer at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

Bad news continues to plague the Anheuser-Busch brand as its beer tents were left nearly vacant at the 83rd Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

The Sturgis Rally drew an estimated 500,000 visitors to the South Dakota town of Sturgis, but despite a 5-alarm fire equivalent of a marketing campaign that included an appearance by the Budweiser Clydesdales and was decidedly not trans, there was no visible progress made in Budweiser’s struggle to overcome the damage caused by the pathetic Dylan Mulvaney promotion.


A barometer of the depth of damage to the “Transheuser-Busch” brand was the attendance at the beer tents.

Anheuser-Busch has suffered from an informal customer boycott since the geniuses in the marketing department decided that fake-woman Dylan Mulvaney would be the ideal spokesman for the Bud Light brand (Transgender ‘Woman’ Dylan Mulvaney Is Now the Face of Bud Light Because These Corporations Hate You). According to now-defenestrated marketing VP Alissa Heinerscheid (Bud Light Finally Takes Some Action Regarding Their VP of Marketing After Mulvaney Controversy), there was a method in the madness in selecting a transgender spokesman for a brand that was about as far away from trans-affirming as you could get; see WATCH: Bud Light VP’s Interview Explains Why They Trainwrecked the Brand With Mulvaney.

I’m a businesswoman, I had a really clear job to do when I took over Bud Light, and it was ‘This brand is in decline, it’s been in a decline for a really long time, and if we do not attract young drinkers to come and drink this brand there will be no future for Bud Light.

So I had this super-clear mandate that we need to evolve and elevate this incredibly iconic brand. And my…what I brought to that was a belief in…okay, what does evolve an elevate mean? It means inclusivity, it means shifting the tone, it means having a campaign that’s truly inclusive, and feels lighter and brighter and different, and appeals to women and to men. And representation is sort of at the heart of evolution, you have got to see people who reflect you in the work. And we had this hangover, I mean Bud Light had been kind of a brand of fratty, kind of out of touch humor, and it was really important that we had another approach.


Since then, Bud Light has slipped from its perennial spot as the top American beer, losing the top billing to Modelo Especial. Ponder that factoid for a moment. Distributors have started dropping the brand because bars are dropping it. Costco will stop carrying Bud Light in the near future; see Reports: Bud Light in Big Trouble, Hit With Costco ‘Death Star.’ Anheuser-Busch tried to staunch the sucking chest wound of the Mulvaney promotion with a patriotic-themed ad (Damage Control: Budweiser Releases Heavily Patriotic New Ad in Wake of Dylan Mulvaney Controversy) and other condescending horsesh** (Corporate America Thinks You’re Dumb) but nothing worked. It was a great idea to pull out all the stops at Sturgis to put the Dylan Mulvaney episode behind them and win back formerly loyal customers. But it flopped.

The flop at Sturgis may presage a disaster of epic proportions for not only Bud Light but for the Budweiser brand itself. If you can’t sell beer to bikers at Sturgis, I’d submit your chances of selling beer to average Americans at their favorite pub are not all that great.


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