The marketing partnership between beer giant Bud Light and trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney, which saw the brand face severe backlash, was launched without the knowledge and approval of senior executives of the parent company Anheuser-Busch, according to a new report. This comes as the company saw $6 billion wiped out from its market capital since Mar 31.
The partnership, which was announced on April 2, generated a lot of criticism from some quarters. Country musicians John Rich and Travis Tritt cut connections with the company, while musician Kid Rock posted a video of himself firing at cases of Bud Lite. And Anheuser-Busch has since gone silent on Twitter.
While several celebrities have slammed Bud Light for its partnership with Mulvaney, some have come in support of the company also. The ferocious backlash has been criticized as being exaggerated by shock jock Howard Stern and podcaster Joe Rogan, who said, "I think it's stupid."
Anheuser-Busch is also standing by the campaign, while the marketing team that oversaw the campaign is still in place, including Alissa Gordon Heinerscheid, vice president, marketing, who led the campaign.
However, a new report claims that the ill-fated partnership between Bud Light and Mulvaney was launched without the approval of senior executives of Anheuser-Busch.
According to a report in The Daily Wire, two sources with knowledge of the situation claimed that "behind the scenes at AB, 'no one at a senior level' was aware of the partnership that has now dominated headlines for weeks, and the decision to include Mulvaney in the campaign was taken by a 'low-level marketing staffer.'
According to a DailyMail.com citing the Daily Wire report, this claim is made despite the attention given to Alissa Heinerscheid, vice president of marketing at Bud Light, for comments she made in an interview just days before the Mulvaney partnership, in which she stated that she wanted to update the brand's reputation for being "fratty" for "inclusivity."
The Daily Wire, however, cited a source who said that the partnership was undertaken by a "low-level marketing staffer who helps manage the hundreds of influencer engagements they do."
"It was a mistake," the source told the outlet.
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.
Moreover, she also criticized the previous branding of the company, saying: "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."
Heinerscheid's comments and partnership with Mulvaney have drawn criticism. The company has remained silent, despite the fact that many people are opposing Anheuser-Busch's goods.
"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," a spokesperson for the company told Fox News.
"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."