More than eight months after an ill-advised partnership with transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney, an ongoing boycott continues to have a devastating impact on the once-popular beer brand’s sales.
Parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev has attempted to revive the struggling brand on multiple occasions, including with an ad campaign highlighting patriotism and a longstanding corporate connection to Clydesdale horses.
That gambit failed to pay off, but Bud Light is now apparently hoping that publicly aligning with a pair of NFL veterans will help repair its tattered image.
In the recently unveiled campaign, Peyton Manning and Emmitt Smith toss and catch cans of Bud Light before distributing beer to fans gathered nearby.
Without referencing the Mulvaney controversy directly, Smith spoke to Fox Business Network regarding why he believes beer drinkers should reconsider Bud Light.
“It’s an iconic brand and it’s been around sports for a long time,” he said. “Every brand itself goes through iterations of highs and lows. Even the Dallas Cowboys are going through iterations of highs and lows, and it’s been a low for a long period of time because we haven’t been to the NFC championship game.”
It remains to be seen whether this ad, titled “Easy Rounds,” will stem the brand’s hemorrhaging sales. The campaign correlates with ticket giveaways from NFL postseason games.
During the third quarter of 2023, Anheuser-Busch signaled that its revenue per 100 liters dropped by a staggering 13.5%, and sales to retailers had dipped by nearly 17%. The company indicated that the decline was “primarily due to the volume decline of Bud Light.”
Bud Light has received some surprising support along the way, however, including from Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White, who agreed to partner with the brand for a six-year partnership.
Instead of writing off Bud Light based on the recent controversy, he said that he focused on “all the good things” that Anheuser-Busch has done to advance the cause of veterans, farmers, and other groups of Americans.
For his part, Smith seemed to believe that the new ad is a step in the right direction for the struggling brand.
“I think with what Bud Light is doing to engage with fans is wonderful,” he said. “They’re providing them with the opportunity to do something very special, very unique. They give them a different level of experience, utilizing Peyton Manning and myself, and I think that is unique in itself because we understand the game and we played in the big game ourselves and we can relate to some of the things that the fans will experience.”