Trump says Bud Light should be given a “second chance” after backlash

Bud Light controversy cost $395 million in sales

Bud Light controversy cost $395 million in sales 00:22

Former President Donald Trump is asking his supporters to give Anheuser-Busch a “second chance” after Bud Light’s marketing promotion last year with transgender TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney sparked a backlash among some customers.

Some conservatives, including singers Kid Rock and Travis Tritt, vowed to boycott Bud Light over its teaming up with Mulvaney, causing sales to tumble and toppling the beer brand from its perch at the time as America’s best-selling brew. 

Trump’s message comes just days before the Super Bowl, when Bud Light will return to the championship game with a humorous ad and a chance to make its pitch to hordes of beer drinkers. In a post Tuesday on Truth Social, Trump called Anheuser-Busch’s promo with Mulvaney “a mistake of epic proportions, and for that a very big price was paid.”

But, he added, “Anheuser-Busch is not a woke company.” He also went on to praise the beverage giant’s efforts to support farmers and create jobs, including employment for U.S. veterans. “Anheuser-Busch is a Great American Brand that perhaps deserves a Second Chance?” he added.

Shares of Anheuser-Busch rose 2% in premarket trading. The company didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Sales of Bud Light plunged 20% in 2023, according to data from Bump Williams Consulting. The slump has continued into 2024, with sales down 29.4% in the first four weeks of the year, the firm said.

Anheuser-Busch CEO: Bud Light should be bringing people together 07:52

In an email to CBS MoneyWatch, Bump Williams said sales of the beer brand “are still not looking too strong for Bud Light across America.”

“[W]e will see if former President Trump’s social media support on the brand will change that,” he added. 

Anheuser-Busch CEO Michael Doukeris said in an October earnings call that its U.S. sales fell 13.5% in the third-quarter, which he blamed partly on lower Bud Light sales. He added that the company’s research found that its customers “want their beer without a debate.”

Trump’s post on Truth Social comes shortly before a planned fundraising event for Trump in March that will be hosted by a lobbyist for Anheuser-Busch, according to Politico.

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