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Why Many Americans are Boycotting Bud Light

Boycott Bud Light
Sales of Bud Light fell nearly 25% over the week ending on May 13. Credit: , CC BY-NC-ND 2.0/Flickr

Many American consumers have launched a boycott campaign against Bud Light one of the biggest-selling beers in the USA.

ABC reports that critics of Bud Light burned empty beer boxes and fired bullets at cans as part of an anti-trans backlash against the brand that erupted early last month. Since then, the anger has grown.

Sales of Bud Light have recorded declines for six consecutive weeks after a product endorsement from Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender influencer, set off ire among many conservatives.

Bud Light Boycott
The brand is reeling from the fallout from its marketing partnership with transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney. Credit: Instagram/Dylan Mulvaney

In early April, Bud Light sent Mulvaney a handful of beers. Mulvaney, in turn, posted a video of herself using said beers to celebrate both March Madness and her first year of womanhood. One of the cans featured her image.

It was part of a paid sponsorship deal and promotion for some sort of sweepstakes challenge where people can win $15,000 from Bud Light by sending in videos of themselves carrying a lot of beers.

This made some people upset because Mulvaney is transgender.

Boycott of Bud Light grows larger

Consumer boycotts typically fizzle but this one has expanded for an array of reasons: a hot-button political controversy over a product with ample alternatives, outcry from political figures and celebrities and amplification on social media, experts told ABC News.

The boycott grew even larger, meanwhile, after the initial response from the company was perceived as conciliatory by some LGBTQ advocates, prompting a wave of frustration on the left, the experts added.

“Generally, boycotts get called and have very little effect,” Gerald Davis, a professor of organizational behavior at the Michigan University Graduate School of Business. “For now, everybody is mad,” he told ABC.

Sales of Bud Light fell nearly 25% over the week ending on May 13 compared to the same period a year ago, according to data from Bump Williams Consulting and Nielsen NIQ obtained by ABC News.

The most recent decline showed a deepening of losses after a drop of some 23% the week prior compared to a year ago and a roughly 7% year-over-year drop for the week ending on April 9, soon after the boycott began, the data showed.

The fallout has led to two of the company’s top marketing executives being put on leave of absence. Sales of other Anheuser-Busch brands also continued to drop, albeit at a slower rate than the week before.

Those included Budweiser, down 9.7% versus an 11.4% drop a week earlier; Michelob Ultra, down 2.9% versus 4.3%; and Natural Light, down 2.5% versus 5.2% the previous week.

Meanwhile, sales of rival beers have surged. Sales of Pabst Blue Ribbon were up 21.6% in the week of May 6 — slightly up from the 18.9% spike the previous week. Miller High Life gained 10.4% in sales compared to an 8.3% bump over the same time period the previous week, according to Bump Williams and NielsenIQ data.

Trans issues are currently front and center in America’s culture war, Vox reports.

Anti-trans sentiment is sweeping many corners of the right, targeting children, drag shows, driver’s licenses, and health care, among other areas. It’s showing up in conservative media and conservative legislation and even working itself into the mainstream.

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