The parent company of Bud Light received an award as “Creative Marketer of the Year” at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this week despite recent backlash over its partnership with a transgender activist.
Anheuser-Busch Chief Marketing Officer Marcel Marcondes, who accepted the award on behalf of the company said that it was “humbled” by recent events.
He also said that the beverage company heard the “wake-up call” related to the boycott.
“It’s tough to see the controversial and divisive debates that have been happening in the U.S. in the last couple of weeks involving lots of brands and companies, including and especially Bud Light,” Marcondes said at the event.
The award was announced after a dramatic boycott of the brand following an announced partnership with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney. The announcement on social media and a custom can with Mulvaney’s image on it sparked significant criticism, especially from conservative consumers.
— New York Post (@nypost) June 20, 2023
The boycott has extended for almost three months since the Apr. 1 announcement. As a result, Anheuser-Busch InBev stock lost about $27 billion in value.
While the brand accepted the award this week, it was announced in March, just two weeks before the fateful marketing decision.
So far, there are no indications that the boycott will let up in the near future.
Anheuser-Busch recently announced a significant change in its marketing plan, committing to spending more to promote Bud Light.
The marketing executive responsible for the partnership, Alissa Heinerscheid, took a leave of absence in April following the start of the controversy.
The decision followed sharp criticism from the beer giant’s former chief creative officer, Robert Lachky.
“It took us 20 years to take Bud Light beer to the No. 1 beer in the country, and it took them one week to dismantle it,” he said last month.
Bud Light recently lost its title as the most-sold beer in the United States to Modelo Especial. Figures from last week showed that Bud Light’s sales declined almost 25% compared to a year earlier. This was also met with dramatic sales increases by Coors Light and Miller Lite.