Legal Law

Going Flat? Bud Light Sales Still Down 28 Percent as Consumers Continue Boycott – JONATHAN TURLEY

Beer analysts are saying that Bud Light is still struggling with the boycott that has reduced its sale by a whopping 28% over the four weeks leading up to Dec. 9 — and heading to the all-important New Year’s sale period. The tragic irony for the company is that  Alissa Heinerscheid, vice president of marketing for Bud Light,  sought to dismantle Bud Light’s “fratty reputation.” She succeeded. It is now the symbol of woke companies for many and consumers seem to be treating the company as a vehicle to express their opposition to the social and political campaigns of companies from Disney to Nike.

Notably, U.S. beer shipments dropped by more than 5% over the first nine months of 2023, reflecting a trend among younger voters away from alcohol. However, Bud Light appears to be off the charts as consumers continue to send a message by buying other brands.

The timing is critical. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, a quarter of the $49-billion-a-year distilled spirits industry’s profits come between Thanksgiving and the New Year. The continued struggle of Bud Light during this period could magnify the losses and the message in the market.

The message appears to be getting through. Corporate executives have long yielded to demands for greater political and social agendas despite indicators that these campaigns were driving away business. That is changing as shareholders object to subsidizing campaigns unconnected to products. Most recently, Disney appeared to acknowledge that its own campaigns were undermining sales and alienating consumers.

It is the invisible hand of Adam Smith at work. However, this is more of a backhand for Bud Light, which has tried to distance itself from the earlier campaign. The problem is that many consumers now view the company as a symbol of this struggle between companies and the public. Some are seeking to “hoist the wretch” to warn other companies. It seems that Bud Light is now that wretch.

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