Millionaire investor and television host Kevin O’Leary says that Bud Light’s sales collapse is a hard lesson that he intends to teach to his college students as a warning.
- O’Leary appeared on a recent episode of Fox Business, saying that Bud Light is the “gift that keeps on giving.”
- He called the disaster an “unprecedented” decline for the beer industry and doubts that InBev’s attempt to rehabilitate its image will improve things.
- “Beer is a commodity, the only difference is brand, so you really have to protect your brand every way you can,” he says.
- He tells Fox Business that he will be using the collapse of Bud Light as an example for his students in upcoming fall classes.
Why It’s Important
On April 1, transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney released a cross-promotional Instagram video with Bud Light, revealing that their face had been added to the side of Bud Light cans. Subsequently, an interview with Bud Light Vice President of Marketing Alissa Heinerscheid revealed that she was attempting to shift the brand away from its “fratboy” image toward a new audience of young progressive beer drinkers.
Within two weeks, Bud Light’s sales precipitously dropped and have continued to do so, with a 26.4% year-over-year decline for the July 4 weekend and a 26.5% monthly sales decline as of July 15. The consumer boycott is nearing the end of its fourth month as sales continue to drop.
While O’Leary’s co-star Mark Cuban has been more defensive of “woke capitalism,” O’Leary appears to be siding with industry experts who look at Bud Light as a case study for an unexpected and confusingly successful boycott, resulting in losses in sales created by political divisions.
“Beer brands take decades to build and usually are fighting [for] 1% to 2% share per year by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising. This has never happened before. No beer brand has ever lost 25% market share in a matter of hours. It’s so unprecedented that there’s no playbook for this,” he says.
“If you don’t understand who’s buying your brand and you enrage them, which seems to be what happened here, you don’t know the outcome. And now we can measure it—25% market share. This is so extraordinary that I’m planning to teach it this fall in the colleges that I visit and guest lecture at. I’ve never seen a brand case like this one.”