Does Bud Light Deserve a Second Chance?
The iconic beer brand is barely afloat, but Donald Trump may have thrown it a lifeline.
It was “a mistake of epic proportions,” said Donald Trump of Bud Light’s decision to throw in with “transgender” influencer and female caricaturist Dylan Mulvaney. But he thinks it might be time to give the company and its leaders a second chance. Thinks maybe they’ve learned their lesson.
The question, though, is whether the rest of us think they’ve learned their lesson.
And maybe we’re missing something, but we still haven’t heard Anheuser-Busch apologize to the customers who found the whole Mulvaney stunt offensive.
To be sure, the year just past was an annus horribilis for Bud Light. In what must be one of the most successful product boycotts in American history, Bud Light’s sales fell a catastrophic 30% in 2023, while Budweiser took a 15% hit as collateral damage. Yet despite this, Anheuser-Busch has done just about everything except apologize. Back in mid-April, shortly after things blew up, the company tried a mealy-mouthed non-apology to stanch the bleeding. No dice. Then its marketing department groveled with a commercial of some all-American kids at a country music concert. Ditto.
Then Donald Trump Jr. pointed out on his “Triggered” podcast that Anheuser-Busch, its employees, and its Political Action Committee gave “about 60% to Republicans” in the last election cycle — which is a remarkably strong share in today’s climate of rank corporate wokeism.
Then, in June, Bud Light inexplicably blew a $200,000 kiss to the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. At this point, we figured the boycott should continue based on the company’s idiocy alone.
Undeterred, Bud Light then inked a six-year marketing partnership with Dana White and his massively popular UFC mixed martial arts enterprise — a sponsorship deal that went “well into the nine figures,” the largest in the sport’s history.
Kid Rock, who fired a few rounds through some cases of Bud Light to kick off the boycott, seemed willing to forgive and forget. Payton Manning bought a round for the house in a recent TV commercial. But the hemorrhaging has continued.
Those who plan to watch Super Bowl LVIII will see A-B’s latest effort this weekend. As Fox Business reports: “The brand created a 60-second advertisement that will air during the Super Bowl this Sunday. The campaign, dubbed ‘Easy Night Out,’ focuses on a group of friends who encounter a ‘Bud Light Genie’ that grants them wishes during a night out, including having Bud Lights magically appear.”
Maybe it’s just us, but Bud Light wouldn’t be at the top of our wish list under any circumstances.
And now, the company has enlisted Donald Trump. As the former president posted on Tuesday:
The Bud Light ad was a mistake of epic proportions, and for that a very big price was paid, but Anheuser-Busch is not a Woke company, but I can give you plenty that are, am building a list, and might just release it for the World to see. Why not, the Radical Left does it viciously to well run, Conservative companies — and people! Very nasty, but it’s the way they play the game! On the other hand, Anheuser-Busch spends $700 Million a year with our GREAT Farmers, employ 65 thousand Americans, of which 1,500 are Veterans, and is a Founding Corporate Partner of Folds of Honor, which provides Scholarships for families of fallen Servicemen & Women. They’ve raised over $30,000,000 and given 44,000 Scholarships. Anheuser-Busch is a Great American Brand that perhaps deserves a Second Chance? What do you think? Perhaps, instead, we should be going after those companies that are looking to DESTROY AMERICA!
Notice that Trump isn’t issuing marching orders. He’s merely asking a question, asking whether Bud Light “deserves a second chance.” Even the Athlete Formerly Known As Bruce Jenner is on board.
Some of Trump’s critics had a different take — that he’d sold out for money. Indeed, the headline of a piece by National Review’s Noah Rothman charged, “Trump Gets Bought Out of the Culture Wars,” while the body copy seemed to take its cue from the lefties at Politico: “Trump’s message also comes as a top Republican lobbyist for the company is set to host a fundraiser for the former president next month, with some tickets going at $10,000 each.”
We hate to break it to these Never-Trumpers, but selling out simply isn’t his style. The Trump brand means a lot more to him than any campaign contribution he might get from Anheuser-Busch in return.
Furthermore, Trump has spent much of his life in and around hard-left Manhattan, so he isn’t a culture warrior like many of us. Remember: The first openly gay cabinet secretary in American history, Ric Grenell, was appointed by Donald Trump. (And, for the record, it was a good appointment.)
Will Trump’s lifeline help Bud Light? Early signs say yes. As NR’s Kayla Bartsch points out: “After receiving Trump’s endorsement, Anheuser-Busch InBev shares rose more in one day than in any other day over the last three months. On Wednesday, the company’s stock rose four percent — its best single day of gains since a five percent rise on October 31 of last year.”
As Trump noted, Anheuser-Busch has been friendly toward causes that conservatives care about. A-B isn’t like Disney, Apple, or Target. But, again, one thing is missing: the apology. Apologies done right are disarmingly powerful. But apologies done wrong — that is, when they’re expected and not delivered, or when they’re delivered equivocally — become a rallying point for the rightly offended.
We’re not sure if even Donald Trump can rescue Bud Light, but we do know this: A sincere apology would help. Until then, we won’t lose any sleep over a continued boycott.