Bud Light is still apparently trying to pull itself out of the Dylan Mulvaney hole, in which fiasco they abandoned their traditional BroDude market to try to appeal to the terminally woke. The BroDude demo said, “Beer today, gone tomorrow” and bailed. Bud Light sales cratered.
Now, in what would appear to be an attempt to get back the BroDude market, Bud Light is going in big on Power Slapping, in which two BroDudes pummel each other with roundhouse slaps until one of them malts under the pressure.
The knuckleheads who own Budweiser really know how to blow up a brand. First they subjected their loyal customers to social-media commercials featuring flamboyant trans activist Dylan Mulvaney sipping Bud Light while half-naked in a bubble bath.
You know how that turned out.
Now they’re partnering in maybe the most jarring sport in modern history, a contest of grown men taking turns slapping each other in the face until one is so beaten and bruised, he can’t continue.
The sport is known as Power Slap. It’s part of Anheuser-Busch’s six-year, $100 million-plus branding partnership with Dana White, the CEO of UFC and the champion of this new sport. If you know anything about White, you know he’s a brilliant businessman, well versed in the art of the deal. Based on everything we know about Anheuser-Busch, it’s fair to see this as among the biggest branding overreaches ever imagined, a desperate Hail Mary from the lunkhead executives who thought Mulvaney was a smart marketing move.
Bud Light’s marketing team is, sure, bound to be under some beer pressure at this point to undo their un-beer-lievable mistake from earlier this year. It’s not their first attempt; they’ve tried bringing in NFL football players, and such larger-than-life figures as Kid Rock have been brought back into the hop-per in a sad attempt to re-energize BroDudes into returning to Bud Light.
T’wasn’t always thus.
Recall: Budweiser and Bud Light became the most popular beers in the country (until recently) because they were decent products but also a brand that stood for something: All-American (see those Clydesdale ads), blue collar and men who like biological women (Spuds MacKenzie picking up hotties in bikinis).
One might argue (and I certainly would, especially after enjoying two lovely glasses of Alaska Amber with my lunch yesterday) that Bud and Bud Light were the most popular beers in the country when there just weren’t that many alternatives. But the beer market in the U.S. today is an embarrassment of riches when many communities have so many local brands that one can barley hop from one to the next; even here in the Great Land, we have a wealth of small breweries that produce stellar product, including the Denali Brewing Company, which is located only 20 miles or so from where I sit as I write these words. (You can find a lot of us burly, beer-ded Alaska dudes there on any given Saturday.)
Bud and Bud Light? Well, there’s a reason people call them “sex in a canoe” beers. I wasn’t able to join the Bud Light boycott as I hadn’t touched a Bud beer in decades; all I remember about them is that when I drink them, IPA lot.
Who knows – maybe the Power Slap promo will bring some BroDudes back to the fold. And maybe not. We’ll see. But for the rest of us who like beers with a little more flavor, Budweiser continues to be a case of casting swine before pearls.
Why don’t they just bring back Spuds McKenzie?