Bud Light Boycott: Latest Developments



The Bud Light boycott was a significant event that had a major impact on the brand’s reputation and sales. The controversy stemmed from a controversial ad deemed offensive by many consumers. This article will provide an overview of the boycott, including its origins and timeline of events. It will also explore the reasons behind the boycott, the public’s reaction to the ad, Bud Light’s response, and the long-term effects on the brand’s sales and revenue. Additionally, this article will discuss the role of advertising standards and ethics, the intersection of politics and advertising, competitor responses, and whether or not Bud Light can recover from the controversy.
Bud Light Boycott

Overview of the Bud Light Boycott

The Bud Light boycott began in March 2019 after releasing a controversial ad during the Super Bowl. The “Special Delivery” ad featured a medieval setting where a Bud Light knight delivers barrels of corn syrup to a castle. The ad sparked outrage among corn farmers and supporters, as it seemed to suggest that corn syrup was an undesirable ingredient in beer.

The boycott’s origins can be traced back to a long-standing rivalry between Anheuser-Busch InBev (the parent company of Bud Light) and MillerCoors (the parent company of Miller Lite and Coors Light). MillerCoors uses corn syrup in its brewing process, while Bud Light does not. The ad was seen as a direct attack on MillerCoors and its use of corn syrup.

Reasons for the Boycott: The Controversial Ad

The “Special Delivery” ad was controversial for several reasons. Firstly, it perpetuated negative stereotypes about corn syrup and its use in beer. Many consumers felt that the ad implied that corn syrup was an inferior ingredient and that beers made with it were of lower quality.

Secondly, the ad was seen as an attack on corn farmers who rely on corn syrup as a source of income. The ad seemed to suggest that corn syrup was something to be ashamed of, which angered many farmers and their supporters.

Lastly, the ad was seen as a direct attack on MillerCoors and its use of corn syrup. The rivalry between Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors is well-known in the beer industry, and this ad was seen as a low blow in that ongoing battle.

Reactions to the Ad: Public Outcry and Social Media Backlash

The public responded to the “Special Delivery” ad swiftly and intensely. Many consumers used social media to express their outrage and disappointment with Bud Light. Hashtags such as #BoycottBudLight and #DumpBudLight began trending on Twitter, with thousands of users vowing to stop purchasing Bud Light products.

In addition to the public outcry, the ad sparked social media backlash and viral memes. Users on Twitter and Instagram created memes mocking the ad and its message, which were widely shared and further fueled the negative sentiment towards Bud Light.

Bud Light’s Response: Apology and Damage Control

In response to the controversy, Bud Light apologized for the ad. They acknowledged that the ad had missed the mark and apologized for any offense it may have caused. They also clarified that their intention was not to attack corn farmers or their livelihoods.

In addition to the apology, Bud Light took steps to mitigate the damage caused by the controversy. They launched a new advertising campaign that promoted their commitment to quality ingredients and brewing processes. They also contacted corn farmers and offered support in various forms, such as financial assistance and partnerships with agricultural organizations.

Impact on Bud Light Sales and Revenue

The boycott significantly impacted Bud Light’s sales and revenue. In the months following the controversy, sales of Bud Light products declined significantly. Many consumers followed their vow to stop purchasing Bud Light, opting for other beer brands.

The decline in sales also negatively affected Bud Light’s revenue. The brand saw a decrease in profits, which had a ripple effect on the parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev. The boycott forced the company to reassess its marketing strategies and make changes to regain consumer trust.

The Role of Advertising Standards and Ethics

The Bud Light boycott raised important questions about advertising standards and ethics. Many consumers felt the ad violated ethical guidelines by perpetuating negative stereotypes and attacking a competitor. The controversy highlighted the need for advertisers to be mindful of their messages and the potential impact on various stakeholders.

While the ad did not technically violate any advertising guidelines, it did raise concerns about advertisers’ responsibility to consider the potential consequences of their messaging. The controversy served as a reminder that advertising should be done responsibly and ethically, taking into account the potential impact on consumers, competitors, and other stakeholders.

The Intersection of Politics and Advertising

The “Special Delivery” ad also highlighted the intersection of politics and advertising. By attacking MillerCoors and its use of corn syrup, Bud Light inadvertently entered into a political debate surrounding agricultural practices and using corn syrup in various industries.

This intersection of politics and advertising can be risky for brands, opening them up to potential backlash and controversy. While some brands successfully incorporate political messaging into their ads, others may find themselves in hot water if they do not handle it carefully.

Competitor Responses: Capitalizing on Bud Light’s Misstep

Competitors in the beer industry were quick to capitalize on Bud Light’s misstep. MillerCoors, in particular, launched a marketing campaign that directly responded to the controversy. They released ads highlighting their use of corn syrup and positioned it as a positive aspect of their brewing process.

Other beer brands also took advantage of the situation by promoting their products as alternatives to Bud Light. Craft breweries, in particular, saw an opportunity to attract consumers looking for alternatives to mainstream beer brands.

The Future of Bud Light: Can the Brand Recover?

The future of Bud Light is uncertain in the wake of the controversy. While the brand has taken steps to apologize and make amends, it will take time to rebuild consumer trust. The decline in sales and revenue will also have a long-term impact on the brand’s financial health.

To recover from the controversy, Bud Light will need to continue focusing on quality ingredients and brewing processes. It will also need to rebuild relationships with corn farmers and other stakeholders who were offended by the ad. Additionally, it may need to consider reevaluating its marketing strategies to ensure that they are not inadvertently causing offense or perpetuating negative stereotypes.

Lessons Learned: What Advertisers Can Take Away from the Boycott

The Bud Light boycott offers several key takeaways for advertisers. Firstly, it highlights the importance of considering the potential impact of messaging on various stakeholders. Advertisers should be mindful of the possible consequences of their messaging and strive to avoid perpetuating negative stereotypes or attacking competitors.

Secondly, the boycott underscores the need for advertisers to adhere to ethical guidelines and standards. While an ad may technically comply with advertising regulations, consumers may still consider it unethical if it is seen as offensive or harmful.

Lastly, the boycott serves as a reminder that advertising should be responsible and thoughtful. Advertisers should consider the potential impact on consumers, competitors, and other stakeholders before launching a campaign.

The Bud Light boycott significantly impacted the brand’s reputation and sales. The controversial ad sparked public outcry and social media backlash, leading to declining sales and revenue. Bud Light responded with an apology and damage control efforts, but it remains to be seen whether the brand can fully recover from the controversy.

The boycott also raised important questions about advertising standards and ethics and the intersection of politics and advertising. Competitors in the beer industry capitalized on Bud Light’s misstep, further impacting the brand’s sales and reputation.

Overall, the Bud Light boycott reminds advertisers of the importance of responsible and ethical advertising. It highlights the need to consider the potential impact of messaging on various stakeholders and to adhere to ethical guidelines and standards.

Aly Jones
Twitter evangelist. Web fanatic. Lifelong travel nerd. Passionate zombie scholar. Extreme coffee fan. Amateur entrepreneur. Avid beer lover. Had moderate success lecturing about wieners in the UK. Won several awards for short selling clip-on ties in Hanford, CA. Uniquely-equipped for creating marketing channels for cod in Bethesda, MD. Spent a weekend buying and selling Easter candy in Phoenix, AZ. Was quite successful at analyzing tar in the government sector. Have a strong interest in getting to know barbie dolls for fun and profit.