(SNews) – Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth broke his silence on the backlash against a Bud Light marketing campaign with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney that threatens to tank the brand.
Whitworth said: “As the CEO of a company founded in America’s heartland more than 165 years ago, I am responsible for ensuring every consumer feels proud of the beer with brew.
“We’re honored to be part of the fabric of this country. Anheuser-Busch employs more than 18,000 people and our independent distributors employ an additional 47,000 valued colleagues.
“We have hundreds of thousands of partners, millions of fans and a proud history supporting our communities, military, first responders, sports fans, and hard-working Americans everywhere.
“We never intended to be part of the discussion that divides people. We are in the business of bringing people together over beer.
“My time serving this country taught me the importance of accountability and values upon which America was founded: freedom hard work, and respect for one another.
“As CEO of Anheuser-Busch, I am focused on building and protecting our remarkable history and heritage.
“I care deeply about this country, this company, our brands and our partners.
“I spend much of my time traveling across America, listening to and learning from our customers, distributors and others.
“Moving forward, I will continue to work tirelessly to bring great beers to consumers across the nation.”
Bud Light’s vice president of marketing Alissa Heinerscheid and: “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.”
“To evolve and elevate this incredibly iconic brand” we need “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.
“Representation is sort of at the heart of evolution, you have got to see people who reflect you in the work.”
“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,” she said.
Kid Rock started off the boycott with a viral post that has been viewed over 50 million times. He said:
“Grandpa is feeling a little frisky today. Let me say something to you all as clear and concise as possible,” before turning his back to the camera and firing off a few rounds at some Bud Light beer cases.
He ended with:
“F*ck Bud Light and f*ck Anheuser Bush. Have a terrific day.”
— Anheuser-Busch (@AnheuserBusch) April 14, 2023