Speaking for the first time about the Bud Light controversy, Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD) chief executive Michel Doukeris shrugged off the impact of conservative backlash on the beer brand on sales volume after it engaged transgender rights advocate, actress, and TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney.
“It is too early to have a full view,” Doukeris said on Thursday. “The Bud Light volume decline in the US over the first three weeks of April, as publicly reported, would represent around 1% of our overall global volumes for that period.”
He added that he believes the company has the experience, resources, and partners to manage the situation, and declared that the company’s full-year EBITDA growth outlook remains unchanged. The company said that they will be tripling their media spending on Bud Light over the summer.
Doukeris did not voice support for Mulvaney or the promo that the brand worked on with her.
“This was the result of one can,” he said, referring to the can with Mulvaney’s likeness printed on it that the brand sent Mulvaney as a commemorative gift. “This was not the result of a campaign.”
Addressing the situation beyond the numbers, Doukeris recognized that the backlash impacted the brand’s “frontline workers,” the delivery drivers, sales reps, wholesalers, Bud owners, and servers, and its wholesalers, and said that the company will provide them direct financial support.
“These people are the fabric of our business,” he said. “They are our neighbors, family members and friends. They are in every community in America. We’ve been doing everything we can to support our teams and ensure that safety while continuing to brew, package, and together with wholesalers deliver great beer to the market.”
Doukeris added that the company will focus its marketing on sports and music.
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