The award, which in the industry is the same as getting an Oscar, was awarded to top executive Marcel Marcondes during the Cannes Lions Festival held in France. Anheuser-Busch InBev was announced as the winner of the award before the controversy the company is currently facing began.
In accepting the award, Marcondes, who has worked for the company for two decades, stated the controversy should be a “wake-up call” for the industry. However, Marcondes did not offer an apology for the partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
Some agencies that have worked previously with Anheuser-Busch InBev felt that the company should have declined to accept the award amid the controversy, saying the company should instead “consider seriously addressing the marketing issues” that the company is currently facing in the U.S. before they showcase their work or discuss marketing.
Some agencies weighed with the idea that the company should be proud of its other work. With one LGBTQ+ marketer commenting about the speed at which the company distanced itself from Mulvaney.
Since April 1st, Bud Light has been facing a boycott after Mulvaney featured the partnership with Bud Light’s 11 million followers on her social media accounts. The boycott has extended to other products owned by Anheuser-Busch, with sales declining since the boycott began. In May, Bud Light was bumped from the top spot for most popular beer. Year-over-year sales of Bud Light declined 30.3 percent, the highest since the boycott began, during the week ending June 10th. Since the boycott began, Anheuser-Busch InBev has lost $20 billion in market value.
As a result of the boycott, the U.S. operations head for Anheuser-Busch InBev, Brendan Whitworth, said wholesalers and distributors of Bud Light will be cut checks. The company is planning to launch a new marketing campaign for the summer in an effort to win back sales.
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