The senior marketing executive responsible for Bud Light’s disastrous partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney has reportedly been replaced.
According to AdAge, Alissa Heinerscheid, who said she had a “super clear” mandate to “to evolve and elevate” the brand, has taken an leave of absence from her position.
Heinerscheid was brought on to revamp the company’s marketing strategy in June 2022, and decided that meant “shifting” Bud Light’s advertising towards inclusivity.
“It means having a campaign that’s truly inclusive and feels lighter and brighter and different. And appeals to women and to men,” she said during an interview days before Mulvaney’s campaign launched.
“And representation. Is it sort of the heart of evolution? You’ve got to see people who reflect you in the work,” Heinerscheid detailed.
“And we had this hangover. I mean, Bud Light had been kind of a brand of fratty, kind of out of touch humor, and it was really important that we had another approach.”
Despite Heinerscheid’s attempt to revive the brand, which she described as “in decline for a really long time,” the resulting conservative boycott in response to the Mulvaney ads has cost the brand $6 billion, and likely her job.
Though the marketing executive is officially on a leave of absence, Budweiser’s global marketing VP Todd Allen has been tapped as her replacement, and it’s unclear if he will permanently remain in the position.
Early on in the controversy, parent company Anheuser-Busch defended the beer brand’s partnership with Mulvaney as a way to “authentically connect with audiences across various demographics.”
However, Anheuser-Busch’s latest ad, which features one of Budweiser’s iconic Clydesdale horses running past national landmarks, was widely mocked as a transparent attempt to recover from the boycott.
“Let me tell you a story, about a beer rooted in the heart of America,” the narrator begins. “Found in a community where a handshake is a sure contract.”
The commercial’s imagery includes a firefighter embracing his buddy with a bro hug, two people raising the American flag, and two farmers sharing bottles of Budweiser.
“It’s like the f–king dumbest pro-America rah-rah. Like, we don’t know who you really are, now,” Spotify podcaster Joe Rogan remarked.
“It’s so stupid and cliche. It f–king — it hurts my feelings. It’s so dumb,” he mocked. “This is a company in deep s–t, bro.”
He mentioned both Heinerscheid’s disdain for the company’s “fratty” culture, and how they chose to commemorate Mulvaney’s “365 days of girlhood” with an ad campaign.
“There’s like interviews with the lady who is the head of Bud Light talking about why they did it and about the old sort of frat culture attached to Bud Light dismissing the people, like the humor of the people that like Bud Light,” Rogan sneered.
“And so they’re gonna change that with this crazy attention wh–e on day 365 of being a woman,” he continued.
“I would respect this if they had this and then Dylan Mulvaney just starts cartwheeling it into the frame,” Rogan joked. “‘Day 368 of womanhood!’”
The ad concludes with the Clydesdale horse gazing over the Grand Canyon, and the narrator saying, “This is a story, bigger than beer.”
“Shut the f–k up. Now I hate you more,” Rogan replied.
He added that the pandering commercial seemed like it was generated using artificial intelligence.
“That’s probably a ChatGPT 4.0 version of the perfect American commercial,” Rogan commented.
“That’s really what it is. That s–t didn’t have nothing to do with drinking Bud Light either, by the way.”
“That was like — that made me wanna move to Montana,” he explained. “Like, you wanna be in the mountains and see the dust and s–t but that’s like the dumbest commercial of all time.”
Rogan noted that the company was clearly trying to regain the trust of the conservative consumers they lost with Heinerscheid’s woke brainchild.
“It’s so obvious what they’re doing. They’re trying to like – they needed to let that sit for a little bit,” he concluded.