Anheuser-Busch told its U.S. beer distributors it had fired the advertising agency responsible for the partnership between Bud Light and transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, according to The New York Post.
Anheuser-Busch, Bud Light’s parent company, recently sent a commemorative can of beer to Mulvaney to celebrate the influencer’s “365 Days of Girlhood” series, sparking swift backlash, boycotts and plummeting sales. Anheuser-Busch told distributors that the specialty can was not designed by Anheuser-Busch and wasn’t created in one of its facilities, and that the company had ended its relationship with the advertising firm behind the idea, according to The Post, who cited multiple sources.
“Ad agencies send out hundreds of influencer kits a year, some of which have a customized can included. This was one of those situations,” one Texas-based distributor told The Post.
The identity of the advertising firm isn’t clear, according to the Post.
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Anheuser-Busch has been publicly distancing itself from the marketing effort, and CEO Michel Doukeris walked back the company’s initial defense of the partnership in a Thursday earnings call.
“We need to clarify the facts that this was one camp, one influencer, one post and not a campaign,” he said.
Bud Light Marketing Vice President Alissa Heinerscheid also took a leave of absence from the company following blowback over the Mulvaney ad, along with comments she made disparaging Bud Light’s prior target demographics.
Bud Light sales fell more than 36% the week ending April 22, 21% the week prior and 11% the week before that, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Anheuser-Busch did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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