The Bud Light Boycott

In this episode of “What Just Happened?,” hosts Kate Hartley and Tamara Littleton, with special guest Aby Hawker, talk about the 2023 Bud Light controversy involving trans rights activist and influencer Dylan Mulvaney. Bud Light sent a special edition can to Mulvaney to celebrate her transition, but this led to a massive backlash from conservative groups and right-wing media. Notably, Kid Rock posted a video of himself shooting Bud Light cans in protest.

Despite the severe online abuse Mulvaney faced, Bud Light distanced itself from her, issuing a lukewarm statement and failing to support her publicly. The backlash affected Bud Light’s sales and led to layoffs.

We discuss how and why Bud Light failed to stand by Mulvaney, and we talk about campaign preparation and planning for any potential negative response. We also look at the importance for brands of aligning their actions with their core values and being prepared to support their partners through potential controversies.

A full transcript of today’s show is available to read here.

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