As Bud Light sales continue to tumble, the former president of the beer’s parent company has called for the CEO to step down before the brand really sours.
“This chasm that we’re seeing between Bud Light and its consumers is only going to intensify because every time you come out with one of these weak statements or some of these just platitudes,” former Anheuser-Busch President Anson Frericks said on “Varney & Co.” Monday.
“That’s not addressing the problem,” he added. “And until you address the problem, I don’t see consumers coming back and coming back to this brand.”
Frericks, who was Anheuser-Busch’s president of sales and worked at the company for more than 10 years, claimed current CEO Brendan Whitworth missed several opportunities to steer the brand in the right direction.
“We’re in the fourth month of this right now,” Frericks noted. “This is something that should have been addressed three or four months ago by clearly coming out and saying: hey, Bud Light historically was always a brand that didn’t get involved in politics.”
The former president predicted declining sales and negative customer perception will likely carry into a fifth, sixth and seventh month.
“Six-hundred workers at one of the Anheuser suppliers were just laid off. Unfortunately, there’s going to be more workers that can be laid off if we can’t find a CEO who is going to successfully and confidently, confidently address this situation,” Frericks explained.
Recent Nielsen data indicates Bud Light volumes were down 31% for the week going into Father’s Day weekend. The plummeting sales are a result of the beer brand’s promotional can supporting transgender influencer Dylvan Mulvaney’s “365 Days of Girlhood.”
Frericks called on Whitworth to openly admit the advertising campaign decision was not in the best interest of shareholders.
“The shareholders of Anheuser-Busch are those firefighters, doctors, police officers, etc., and to make sure that their retirement accounts and 401(k) accounts are done well, companies need to focus on great products and services, period. That’s it,” the former president argued. “Not necessarily get involved in a lot of different political issues or social issues.”
On Friday, Anheuser-Busch released a statement that read: “As we’ve said, we remain committed to the programs and partnerships we have forged over decades with organizations across a number of communities, including those in the LGBTQ+ community. The privacy and safety of our employees and our partners is always our top priority. As we move forward, we will focus on what we do best – brewing great beer for everyone and earning our place in moments that matter to our consumers.”
The “real sad” response thus far, Frericks claimed, is the one Anheuser-Busch failed to give Mulvaney. In a TikTok posted three days ago, Mulvaney addressed Anheuser-Busch directly, criticizing the company for not protecting them from “more bullying and transphobia than I could have ever imagined.”
“I think Dylan said it best in saying: hey, if you’re going to come out and do a campaign with somebody, you have to support them. Otherwise, don’t do it at all,” Frericks said. “And so right now, nobody’s happy with Bud Light and Bud Light’s trying to be everything to everyone, but right now, they mean really nothing to anyone.”
By Kristen Altus