There’s a saying in politics: Stand in the middle of the road and you’re bound to get run over.
As the folks who brew Bud Light are discovering, however, you’re just as likely to get hit if you keep jumping from one side to the other.
As you may vividly recall, Anheuser-Busch InBev’s fortunes took a massive nosedive in April when some geniuses in the Bud Light marketing department decided they wanted to ditch the brand’s “fratty” image for one that was “inclusive” — and “inclusivity,” to them, involved a promotion featuring transgender TikTok “influencer” Dylan Mulvaney.
Bud Light’s sales quickly dropped, leading to non-apology apologies from corporate brass, ultra-patriotic commercials and an attempt by the CEO to brand the idea of the Mulvaney sponsorship deal as a campaign as being “misinformation.”
But, uh-oh! Not only did that not placate conservative Americans sick of having wokeness shoved down their throats, but it also angered woke LGBT pressure groups, who were now angry Anheuser-Busch had stopped shoving rainbow wokeness down the gaping maw of Middle America.
Gay bars began to boycott Anheuser-Busch, too, because they felt the company had dropped Mulvaney like the cultural millstone that he was. The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT group, stripped Anheuser-Busch of its perfect 100 score on its corporate index based on its failure to “really stand up and demonstrate the importance of their values of diversity, equity and inclusion” by backing Mulvaney.
Well, now it’s almost “pride month” — the perfect time for Bud Light folks to jump back to the other side of the road and hope no one notices.
Thus we get this from a company news release Tuesday: “Today, Bud Light and the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the exclusive certifying body for LGBT-owned businesses, announce they are extending their partnership to continue supporting economic opportunities and advancements for LGBTQ+ Americans and business owners across the country.”
“Bud Light was brewed to be an ‘Easy to Drink, Easy to Enjoy’ beer for everyone 21+ and that still holds true today,” the company said.
“We look forward to extending our work with the NGLCC to continue making a positive impact on the LGBTQ+ businesses that play a critical role in bringing people everywhere, together.”
And not only is it pride-tastic, it’s intersectional, too!
“This year, Bud Light will donate $200,000 to the NGLCC in support of its Communities of Color Initiative (CoCi),” the release said. “This initiative is designed to support the growth and success of minority LGBTQ+-owned businesses through certification, scholarships and business development in an effort to create equal opportunities for the economic advancement of small businesses in the LGBTQ+ community.”
As the marketing publication Ad Age noted, the “donation to support LGBT Chamber of Commerce comes as AB InBev deals with criticism for failing to speak up for transgender rights in wake of Dylan Mulvaney controversy.”
Perhaps Bud Light marketers thought this was the perfect time to mend fences with the wokeness brigade while still flying under the radar. After all, we’re about to hit “pride month,” the 30 days when basically every corporate logo is rerendered in rainbow colors. (Except in the Middle East, of course.)
The problem is that none of this is going to go under the radar because Bud Light has become the shining symbol of everything Middle America loathes about corporate America’s obeisance to progressive activism.
In fact, the phenomenon of a company having to backpedal from an overly woke campaign has become known, in the short space of just two months, as “BudLighting.“
That neologism saw frequent use in the media after Target’s recent “pride month” kerfuffle involving, among other things, “tuck” women’s bathing suits meant for men to hide their, um, maleness, and LGBT-themed merchandise designed by an honest-to-goodness satanist.
Nor has the boycott against Bud Light abated; according to Newsweek, data by Bump Williams Consulting and Nielsen IQ found Bud Light sales were down 29.5 percent year-over-year on the week ending May 20, a new low. Reports say AB InBev has lost $15.7 billion in market cap because of the boycott, and there have been sightings of 24-cases of Bud Light being sold for as low as $3.49.
Thus, Bud Light going woke again is a quick and easy way to negate all of the BudLighting it’s been doing, like this:
— Budweiser (@budweiserusa) April 14, 2023
As for the DEI throng on the other side of the road, sure, they’ll be happy that Bud Light is donating $200,000 to the NGLCC to help out LGBT businesses. But, they’ll ask, what about standing behind Dylan Mulvaney? Are you ready to do that to prove you’re really worthy of the rainbow-hued logo?
And then the Bud Light execs will hem and haw a bit, mutter among themselves and try to jump back to the other side of the road.
Or maybe they’ll try standing in the middle. Who knows? Perhaps we’ll see a commercial with a pack of Clydesdales draped with the transgender pride flag galloping around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as Sam Elliott provides a gravelly voiceover about how there’s nothing more American than a Memorial Day barbecue with hot dogs, good friends and a very queer beer.
Well, whatever. In two months, Bud Light has jumped from one side of the road to the other so often that nobody on either side seems to want it there.
Thus, after two months of furious hopping, there’s only one place left: the middle of the road. And we all know what happens when you stand there.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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