As the consumer boycott against Anheuser-Bush and Bud Light nears the two-month mark, the beer giant is preparing to partner with multiple events celebrating June as so-called “Pride” month.
For example, in Ohio, Bud Light is listed as a partner of the events planned by Stonewall Columbus and as an alcohol sponsor of Cincinnati Pride, while in Missouri, Anheuser-Bush is listed a major sponsor of St. Louis Pride.
In a post supporting Chicago Pride, Anheuser-Busch glows over its alliance with the LGBT movement.
“Together, with our brands, we have a clear role to play in bringing real change and creating an inclusive and equitable world where we cherish and celebrate one another,” the site says.
“We have donated more than $12 million to local events and national organizations supporting the LGBTQ+ community, including our 24-year partnership with GLAAD– a leading organizaton that works to shape the narrative and encourage dialogue that leads to cultural change, as well as Human Rights Campaign, Heritage of Pride, L0s Angeles Pride, Chicago Pride Fest, and Pride St. Louis among many others.”
Brands are going to be DROWNING you in this stuff once Pride Month rolls around in a few days; they obviously don’t think we can Bud Light all of them at once. https://t.co/KpN9eZLxg1
— The National Pulse (@TheNatPulse) May 24, 2023
Anheuser-Busch’s market value has dropped by $15.7 billion since the Bud Light boycott began on April 1, according to Investor’s Business Daily.
Jared Dinges, beverage analyst at JPMorgan Chase, said there is no reason to think that’s going to end soon.
“We believe there is a subset of American consumers who will not drink a Bud Light for the foreseeable future,” Dinges said. “We believe a 12% to 13% volume decline on an annualized basis would be a reasonable assumption.”
The Target Corp. already has felt the heat from consumers for its support of the LGBT community and has moved some of its “Pride Month” merchandise to less visible locations, according to USA Today.
— Pattern Seer (@PatternSeeker4) May 26, 2023
Consumer psychologist Ross Steinman told the outlet that caving to one group could make it harder for Target to keep the loyalty of LGBT shoppers.
“It’s hard to dispute that decision from a public safety perspective, but from a branding perspective, it has the potential to be quite damaging,” said Steinman, a professor at Widener University in Pennsylvania.
“We will see more of the same if a brand like Target does not put its hands up and say: ‘Enough.’ They are a major player, and other brands look to them for their response.”
Bud Light has become the poster boy for brand mismanagement. The narrative that has risen around Bud Light is a good lesson. It highlights the power of social media. People that didn’t like the message, took it out by boycotting the product immediately. pic.twitter.com/Hf9xh6stDr
— Kevin O’Leary aka Mr. Wonderful (@kevinolearytv) May 23, 2023
Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, said the experiences of Bud Light and Target will serve as a warning.
“When you have issues where there are strong feelings on both sides, and it’s not directly related to your business or brand, there you will see brands try to be very careful,” Calkins said, according to The Washington Post.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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