Beer giant Anheuser-Busch has seen its market value plummet by almost $5 billion since it announced Bud Light's polarizing partnership with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney. The parent company of Bud Light's shares has nosedived by almost 4 percent since March 31, erasing its market valuation on Wednesday from $132.38 billion to $127.13 billion.
On April 2, Dylan Mulvaney shared a video with her 1.7 million Instagram followers, stating that Bud Light had sent her a customized can with her face on it to celebrate 365 days of being a female. Things haven't been the same for the company since then, with millions decrying the brand as "woke" over the partnership.
Losing the Fizz
The beer giant had a market capitalization of $132 billion on March 31st, which was its highest market value of the year, following a series of well-received advertisements, like its Super Bowl commercial starring Miles Teller and his wife.
On April 1, Mulvaney's partnership dropped. Bud Light fans started sharing their dislike for it on April 3. Their anger reached new heights after Kid Rock posted a video the same day showing him firing cases of the beer.
Eventually, country music icons John Rich and Travis Tritt publicly criticized the company. Also, there were allegations of declining sales over the Easter weekend.
The beer maker's share price fell more than 1.5 percent on Wednesday alone. The company's share price was $66.73 on March 31 and closed at $63.38 on Wednesday.
However, the marketing team that oversaw the campaign is still in place, including vice president of Marketing Alissa Gordon Heinerscheid. Anheuser-Busch is also standing by the campaign.
Wednesday's decline came after Mulvaney, in response to the severe criticism, said on Tuesday that her detractors were bullying her because she was an "easy target."
Mulvaney claimed during an appearance on the "Onward with Rosie O'Donnell" podcast that her critics purposefully distort her statements and behavior in an order to blast the transgender community.
"The reason that I think I am so ... I'm an easy target is because I'm so new to this," Mulvaney said. "I think going after a trans woman that's been doing this for like 20 years is a lot more difficult. I think maybe they think that there's some sort of chance with me ... But what is their goal?"
"These people, they don't understand me and anything that I do or say then somehow gets taken out of context and is used against me and it's so sad because everything I try to put out is positive. It's trying to connect with others that maybe don't understand me. It's to make people laugh or to make a kid feel seen."
A Different Kind of War
No one is keeping silent. Critics are slamming Mulvaney, who is aggressive in her response, while Anheuser-Busch is defending its campaign.
Mulvaney had shared videos and images on social media to promote her sponsorship deal with Bud Light, which resulted in Mulvaney's likeness for the brand being printed on specially manufactured cans to commemorate the partnership.
Kid Rock used an assault gun to blast up multiple Bud Light cans as a result of the Mulvaney endorsement deal.
Even a local Missouri distributor was compelled by the outcry to postpone a visit by the renowned Budweiser Clydesdale horses out of concern for the safety of staff members.
According to reports, Mulvaney reportedly earns more than $1 million per year via sponsorship deals with a number of well-known companies, including Nike and Kate Spade.
Megyn Kelly criticized Mulvaney's partnership with Nike as being "non-breasted." "Nike sponsoring Dylan Mulvaney now for a fâking sports bra," Kelly said during Tuesday's edition of "The Megyn Kelly Show" on SiriusXM.
"I'm sorry, Dylan doesn't have breasts."
Bud Light, on the other hand, has been defending its campaign amid the backlash. Following the initial backlash, the company issued a statement in a bid to reassure conservative customers.
"Anheuser-Busch works with hundreds of influencers across our brands as one of many ways to authentically connect with audiences across various demographics and passion points.
"From time to time, we produce unique commemorative cans for fans and for brand influencers, like Dylan Mulvaney.
"This commemorative can was a gift to celebrate a personal milestone and is not for sale to the general public."
Heinerscheid, who was hired as the marketing executive to revamp Bud Light's image last year, sought to spearhead a female, inclusivity revolution at the brand. She bragged about including "inclusivity" as a goal and featuring women prominently in Bud Light's advertisements.
"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 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. It's like we need to evolve and elevate this incredibly iconic brand.
"What does evolve and 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," she said in an interview on March 30.