Bud Light has suffered a “staggering” sales hit following the beer brand’s controversial marketing tie-up with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney — with the latest data showing an alarming 17% drop, according to an industry research firm.
The latest sales data from NielsenIQ and Bump Williams Consulting shows that Bud Light sales fell 17% in dollars, while volume dropped a whopping 21% in the week ended April 15.
That’s sharply ahead of the 6% drop in sales dollars and 11% drop in volume that Bud Light had suffered during the week ended April 8 — the seven days that immediately followed the April 1 launch of the controversial Mulvaney campaign on social media.
“These numbers are staggering,” according to an April 23 report from Insights Express, a beer-focused newsletter. “Right now this is an extremely difficult scenario for Anheuser Busch, the Bud Light brand and for AB distributors.”
The Mulvaney campaign has unleashed a torrent of negative publicity for Anheuser-Busch, which announced Friday and over the weekend that the marketing executives responsible for tapping Mulvaney — Alissa Heinerscheid and Daniel Blake — are taking leaves of absence.
Meanwhile, Bud Light’s competitors are cashing in on the mess. Bud Light lost 6.7% of market share last week, while Coors Light and Miller Lite are up 18%, according to the newsletter. A week earlier, Coors Light’s market share was up 10.6% over the same period and Miller Lite up 11.5%.
“Coors Light and Miller Lite were once again big beneficiaries,” according to Insights Express.
The Mulvaney campaign has unleashed a torrent of negative publicity for Anheuser-Busch.Dylan Mulvaney/Instagram
Anheuser-Busch distributors are meeting with the company in Washington, DC, on Tuesday.
The distributors, some of which have canceled marketing events featuring the iconic Budweiser Clydesdale horses, “are looking for a much more pointed and well developed plan on how Anheuser-Busch might stem the onslaught of negative attention and sales trends,” according to Insights Express.
Bud Light is the largest beer brand in the US, but the Mulvany flap has downsized it.
During the NCAA basketball tournament from March 18 to April 1, it was the clear leader of all light beers at bars and other venues, up 15%, according to Brewbound, a trade publication which cited data from BeerBoard. But after the Mulvaney campaign launched, demand for Bud Light trailed other light beers by 6% at bars and restaurants.
Overall, Bud Light’s volume declined by 34.7% at bars, restaurants and other venues between April 2 and April 15, according to BeerBoard. Bud Light dropped to the No. 4 draft beer from No. 3 during the second week of the controversy, switching places with Coors Light, Brewbound reported on Monday.