Bud Light’s ‘Desperate’ Ad with Travis Kelce Backfires


Bud Light’s sales are continuing to fall and its latest advertisement featuring Kansas City Chiefs player Travis Kelce is being branded as a “desperate” effort to win back customers.

Anheuser-Busch, the parent company of Bud Light, has been releasing commercials to re-engage its former consumers. The 15-second commercial that featured Kelce and others grunting while they crack open Bud Light cans appeared to be the latest attempt.

Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender activist, and influencer, was named Bud Light’s spokesperson for the March Madness basketball tourney in April. This announcement sparked a boycott of the Bud Light brand that lasted months.

Trans activist Mulvaney showed off Bud Light cans sent by Anheuser-Busch featuring his face. The milestone was part of her viral series “365 Days of Girlhood”, where he detailed his experiences as a woman transgender in his first year of identifying on TikTok.

A Bud Light marketing VP Alissa Hinerscheid was also interviewed, in which she called the brand’s customers “fratty”, with “out-of-touch humor”.

She said that her marketing strategy was based on the fact that “Bud Light” had a reputation for being a brand with fratty, out-of-touch humor. It was important to have rethought this approach.

The video, titled “Backyard Grunts With Travis Kelce,” seems to be directed at alienated male Bud Light drinkers. However, the majority of comments in the video criticized the brand’s latest attempt to save its face.

One commenter said: “Man, Bud Light is trying to kill itself at this point.” This is how they view their customer base: stupid grunting caverns.

“Hey look! “‘Fratty and out of touch’ has returned to style at Bud Light,” wrote another.

Third comment: “I can’t see how this would appeal to the target market of Bud Light, which is transgender youth.”

Anheuser Busch tried to make a U-turn just weeks after the news of its partnership with Mulvaney was revealed. The company released a Budweiser tv commercial that showed the famous Clydesdales walking through America’s heartland, which included New York City, Washington, D.C., small-town America, and rural farmland.

Damon Imani, a video producer at the time, wrote: “This is a ‘We’re Sorry’ ad.” Notice the American flag. Also, notice that farmers, workers, and freedom are all mentioned. All American values. The production was high-budget compared to Dylan Mulvaney’s video taken with a selfie camera. They know they fucked up.”

One user commented that “Budlight was done for life, no matter how many Clydesdales or who they bring in,” in reference to an earlier attempt to quell the backlash.

Recent Nielsen data show that Bud Light volume was down 31% in the week leading up to Father’s Day.

“Maybe AB should try to portray masculinity in a positive light, I don’t think so?” Another person commented.

WRAL reported that the Ardagh Group, a global bottling firm that contracts with Anheuser-Busch and has Bud Light as a client, was severely affected by Bud Light’s decline and would be closing their plants in North Carolina this month. According to the investigation, the plant closure will result in the loss of nearly 650 jobs.

One user said, “Bud Light is in a desperate situation after 2 bottling facilities have closed due to lack of demand.”