The man credited with making Budweiser America’s number one selling beer has claimed the current marketing fiasco engulfing the Bud Light brand has seen 20 years of work “dismantled” in just a week.
Ad man Robert Lachky is credited with such iconic Bud ads as its famous “Whassup?” promo campaign 1999 and the “Talking Frogs” commercial that debuted at the Super Bowl five years earlier.
Lachky even went on to be Bud Light’s brand manager, creating advertisements like the “I Love You Man” commercial in 1995 and the “Real Men of Genius” campaigns.
Under his tenure, Bud Light surpassed Miller Light as the top-selling light beer in the country. Lachky left the company just before it was purchased by Anheuser-Busch in 2009.
The former ad man now runs his own consulting firm in St. Louis and said Bud Light’s parent, Anheuser-Busch, only has itself to blame for the Dylan Mulvaney trans disaster that has seen sales of the beer drop 30 per cent and the very real threat it could lose its title of America’s biggest selling beer brand to rival Modelo Especial by the end of the year.
Speaking to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Lachky said: “It took us 20 years to take Bud Light beer to the number one beer in the country, and it took them one week to dismantle it.”
“It’s self-inflicted,” Lachky said, claiming Anheuser-Busch suffered from a “complete lack of corporate oversight and it’s been that way since [it] took the company over.”
Ever since the controversy broke nearly a month ago, Anheuser-Busch has flip flopped over its response.
Initially the marketer behind enlisting trans activist Mulvaney claimed the brand needed to go younger and attract more females to survive. Once the backlash started, she was sent on permanent leave.
Anheuser-Busch management even claimed it was the work of a junior staffer and they were completely unaware of the tie-up. Last week, the agency behind the creative was fired.
As reported on B&T on Monday, far from going away, bans and boycotts are now escalating, with some gay bars in the US banning the sale of all Anheuser-Busch’s beers in protest for the company failing to support Mulvaney.
Earlier this week, Anheuser-Busch global CEO Michel Doukeris blamed “misinformation and disinformation” that was spread online for making people believe cans with Mulvaney’s face were being sold across the US.
“We never intended to make it for general production and sale for the public…it was one post. It was not an advertisement,” Doukeris told the Financial Times.
“We need to clarify the facts that this was one camp, one influencer, one post and not a campaign,” he said.
Now data published on trade site Beer Business Daily has shown that sales of Bud Light has fallen in every region of the country since the start of the controversy.
Meanwhile analysts at HSBC have downgraded Anheuser-Busch’s stock because it is in the midst of a “crisis” over the marketing blunder.
Carlos Laboy, a managing director at HSBC’s global beverage sector, downgraded the stock of Anheuser-Busch InBev to a hold status. It means that investors should not buy or sell shares of the company.
Laboy said: “If Budweiser and Bud Light are iconic American ideas that have long brought consumers together, why did these marketers fail to invite new consumers without alienating the core base of the firm’s largest brand?”