This month has been full of protests. All shapes, all sizes, about all sorts of stuff.
You have the Oakland A’s holding a reverse protest, selling out their most previous game in wake of the team moving to Las Vegas. Reddit users going completely dark after they restructured their API monetization strategy, Trump arraignment protesters, labor strikes, and a lot more that I am probably missing.
For the most part the companies in focus are prepared to whether the storm, and probably will, as these protests won’t last forever.
But there is one that takes the cake
The Bud Latte Boycott
Now this one is a bit controversial, but today we’re going to steer away from all that. Facts only.
Anheuser-Busch is down over 20%, losing over $27 billion in market cap, because of the promo they did with Dylan Mulvaney.
At first it was primarilyviewed as funny, with Kid Rock filming videos of him shooting cases of the beer and country stars making fun of the brand. But it turns out that consumers are serious and have really dug into the boycott resulting in Modelo taking over the top spot of beer purchases.
Now, AB InBev is scrambling to recover after losing nearly 30% of sales, with no signs of turning it around
Why Anheuser-Busch Are Idiots
While I can respect the initiativ, this is a classic “know your audience” thing. And it turns out they were terribly estranged from who their main consumers are.
I don’t work for them, but I have to question how the risk of losing customers because of this ad deal never came up. How was nobody like “Hey, this is great and all, but does the upside of acquiring customers from this new population really outweigh the potential damages?”
It’s an easy risk-based decision…play it safe.
Now, AB InBev has to find a way to make amends with the customers they’ve lost, without turning it in to a huge political thing, swinging the pendulum the other way. And to be honest, I’m not quite sure how they could.
Unless they don’t care about the politics and pay Kid Rock to advertise for them, bringing back all the strays.
Unfortunately for them, I think they’ll have to take their excess (lots and lots of excess) inventory and mark it down to the point where it’s such a good deal that if you don’t buy it, you’re the idiot.
Why It’s Continuing To Work
I think the biggest takeaway for everyone is a sense of shock as to how long it’s lasted. And I think there are two main reasons for its longevity:
- Lots of competition: while Anheuser-Busch controls 42% of it, the beer market in general is notoriously saturated. So, when people began boycotting the brand, there were plenty of alternatives to turn to.The Oakland A’s fans have no other sports team to turn to, there are no equivalent platforms that Reddit users can flock to, but there are tons of different beers that people can drink. Since beer drinkers don’t have to change their consumer behavior to participate, it has been relatively easy for them to keep it going.
- Second order social effects: People love to avoid conflict and remain neutral (myself included). As a result of this innate human characteristic, people who don’t even really care about the standoff still find themselves steering away from buying Bud Light for the sake of not drawing attention or comments. So, this boycott has proven to be much, much larger than those who are outwardly taking a stance against AB InBev.
The Redneck Hillbillies Are Smarter Than Ya Think
At first it was just Bud Light, but as the resistance grew, boycotters became privy to the fact that the AB InBev holdings are vaster than just one beer. Several tweets with over 1 million views outline the hundreds of beers that AB InBev makes.
Off The Bench
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My final thoughts?
Sucks to Anheuser-Busch right now. Once the quintessential beer of America is now on shaky ground. Not even the Clydesdales can help them.
And I guess any publicity is good publicity for Dylan Mulvaney. Many people didn’t know Dylan was before this.
Oh, and it sucks that the A’s are going to Vegas. Moneyball will never hit the same.
Let’s have ourselves a weekend!