The term derives from the spectacular implosion of Bud Light in the wake of their decision in March to enlist transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney to promote the brand. Bud Light’s sales have plummeted, averaging weekly declines of about 25 percent. Parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev has lost more than $15 billion in value. Sales of rival brands have soared, even as many retailers have slashed prices for Bud Light. Some stores are even giving Bud Light away for free—or trying to.
I am very skeptical that the Bud Light example can be replicated over the long haul, but I’m convinced that we are entering a new era of Bud Lighting on the right and left.
First, some background. The most remarkable thing about the Bud Light boycott is that it worked, because boycotts usually don’t—if your definition of success is actually affecting sales and stock price in a significant way. PETA’s been boycotting KFC for 20 years to little or no effect. KFC’s biggest challenge hasn’t been from boycotters, but from rivals like Chick-fil-A, which has been going gangbusters despite facing plenty of boycotts of its own.