The Bud Light and Nike Controversy: A Influencer Marketing Perspective

The Bud Light and Nike Controversy: A Influencer Marketing Perspective

Before we start, we want to clarify that this blog has no political agenda or bias. Instead, it offers a marketing perspective on the recent controversy surrounding Bud Light and Nike. Both companies have faced backlash over their use of transgender influencers in their campaigns. In this blog, we’ll examine how this decision impacted their brands and sales. We’ll also explore what we can learn from this situation regarding branding, influencer marketing, and brand awareness.

Let’s take a closer look at how this decision impacted their brand and sales. This situation provides an opportunity to learn about branding, influencer marketing, and brand awareness.

Bud Light’s Influencer Marketing Misstep

Bud Light is facing backlash from customers. The backlash follows its partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. The beer brand is one of the most popular in America. The company’s sales have taken a significant hit since the announcement, suggesting that the collaboration has alienated the brand’s audience.

Bud Light Logo. The Bud Light Controversy: A Influencer Marketing Perspective

Many customers have interpreted the sponsorship as a political statement, and videos began cropping up across the internet as former Bud Light fans threw the product out, poured it down the drain, or otherwise creatively destroyed the beer cans. The current marketing strategy presents a very different look from the long-standing association of Bud Light beer with a more “macho” or “frat boy” brand.

While it’s too soon to tell if Bud Light’s marketing strategy will attract younger customers in the long run, it has dragged down the company’s overall sales for now. Jeff Fitter, the owner of restaurant and sports bar Case & Bucks, says the effect on Bud Light sales was almost immediate. “In Bud Light’s effort to be inclusive, they excluded almost everybody else, including their traditional audience,” Fitter says.

The Role of Branding in Marketing

An essential part of developing a marketing strategy is identifying a particular customer base and personalizing advertising to that demographic. When explaining the partnership with Mulvaney, Bud Light Vice President of Marketing Alissa Heinerscheid explained that she viewed the brand’s previous marketing strategies as “out of touch” and “fratty.”

However, customers need to remember that a brand builds its reputation and identity over time, and sudden changes can be jarring. In Bud Light’s case, the new marketing strategy may have been a bit too drastic, and the company may have been better off slowly introducing a new brand image rather than abruptly changing it.

The Power of Influencer Marketing

In recent years, influencer marketing has become an increasingly popular strategy for brands looking to reach new audiences. However, choosing the right influencer is crucial. While Bud Light’s decision to partner with a transgender influencer was meant to show support for the LGBTQ+ community, it appears to have backfired.

Nike’s Approach to the Situation

Nike Logo. The Nike Controversy: A Influencer Marketing Perspective

Nike, another major brand that recently featured transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney in its campaign, also faced criticism from some customers who felt the company should have featured a biological woman instead. However, Nike’s diverse customer base and inclusive marketing strategy may have made the backlash less severe.

In a statement responding to the criticism, Nike reminded people to be “kind,” “inclusive,” and encouraging. “Hate speech, bullying, or other behaviors that are not in the spirit of a diverse and inclusive community will be deleted,” Nike wrote.

The Importance of Brand Awareness

Both Bud Light and Nike’s recent controversies highlight the importance of brand awareness. In order to determine if a new audience is receptive to a product’s distribution and type, companies must understand their key demographic. For Bud Light, whose beer is primarily sold in bars, events, and stadiums, the brand’s reputation is very different from the new target audience. It is possible that a new brand would have been better suited for this purpose.

The Nike Difference

For Nike, however, their diverse audience and inclusive marketing strategy made the backlash less severe. The company’s message of inclusivity and diversity resonated while the backlash from conservative groups has been vocal, it’s important to remember that companies are not necessarily making these decisions for political reasons. Rather, they are aiming to appeal to a wider audience and stay current with societal trends.

In the case of Nike, the brand has a long history of inclusivity and has been a leader in promoting social justice causes. It’s not surprising that they would choose to work with a transgender influencer like Dylan Mulvaney. However, the decision has still faced criticism from some consumers who feel that the partnership is exclusionary towards biological women.

The Bud Light Difference

On the other hand, Bud Light’s decision to partner with Mulvaney has faced even stronger pushback. The decision to feature a transgender influencer has caused some of Bud Light’s core customer base to feel alienated. This is given the beer brand’s traditional association with a more “macho” or “frat boy” image.

It’s worth noting, though, that Bud Light’s decision was likely based on a desire to attract younger and more diverse drinkers to the brand. In an interview with podcast Make Yourself At Home, Bud Light Vice President of Marketing Alissa Heinerscheid explained that the brand’s previous marketing strategies were “out of touch” and “fratty.”

However, the backlash has been swift and severe. Many former Bud Light fans are publicly destroying their cans of beer and calling for a boycott of the brand. It’s too soon to tell if Bud Light’s decision will pay off. The brand has a lot of work to do to win back their former fan base. They need to win back their former fan base and attract new customers.

Overall, the decision to partner with transgender influencers is not necessarily a political statement. Instead, companies make a business decision to appeal to a wider and more diverse audience. To ultimately achieve their goals, companies should anticipate backlash and be willing to weather the storm.

Don’t let your brand fall behind the competition. If you’re ready to kickstart a new marketing campaign that will take your brand to the next level, reach out to us today. We would love to discuss your vision and show you how we can help make it a reality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Book your Discovery Call

[ameliabooking service=1]

Book your Marketing Workshop

[ameliabooking service=2]


Exclusive content
+ discount codes

We're thrilled to have you as part of our marketing community. As a special welcome gift we're giving away a copy of The Ultimate Guide to Organic Social Media Growth in 2023 eBook. We think this guide will be a valuable resource for you, and we can't wait for you to get started with it. Let's make 2023 your most successful year yet!


Exclusive content
+ discount codes
+ courses

To say welcome to the best marketing club around, we want to give you some free gifts! That's why we are giving away FOR FREE, our Content Marketing eBook and Checklist, only available to VIP Clubbers, 3 awesome YouTube Thumbnail Templates and 5 Infographic Templates!