It has been two months since the boycott of Bud Light started and it is destroying the company. I want to take a closer look to see what we can learn from this. Because it seems to be the worst marketing decision of all time.
Let us do a quick recap. Bud Light received backlash after doing a promotion with trans celebrity Dylan Mulvaney. Dylan has not been trans for that long. She started transitioning from a man to a woman and posting TikToks in March 2022. It has only been a little over a year, and in that time, Dylan has become the voice of trans issues. Previously, Dylan was a male actor performing in shows like the Book of Mormon on Broadway.
So, what was the controversy? Bud Light was the leading beer in the US. Their customer base included a lot of straight conservative men. Bud Light for years had built a brand based on girls in bikinis and football. So, Dylan Mulvaney was a very strange choice to do promotions. Who were they promoting too? Dylan’s audience on TikTok includes a lot of young people. Were they trying to sell beer to kids? Maybe they did not mean to promote to anyone and were just trying to virtue signal. Either way, it was a complete reversal for the brand image to start promoting Bud Light as the “gay” beer.
People stopped buying it. Straight guys do not want to be seen at a party drinking a gay beer. This started on April 1, 2023. When the boycott first started, sales dropped 17% from last year. But the problem is speeding up. We are now over two months later, and still no one is drinking Bud Light. According to the sales data as of the week ending May 20, sales volume of Bud Light is down 29.5% from last year. Bud it gets worse, new sales numbers last week showed that over Memorial Day Weekend, sales were down 60% from last year.
Bud Light has been telling the news media that there is no problem. The company CEO explains that Bud Light only accounts for 1% of the overall company’s sales and that he is not worried about the boycott. Bud Light is part of the Belgian company AB InBev which is a huge company. They have 500 beer brands all over the world. I believe the CEO is lying to you. This is a big deal for the company. The boycott is also affecting some of their other brands. Budweiser is down. Michelob Ultra is down. Busch Light is down. Natural Light is down. We are starting to see photos shared on social media of displays in the store where no one will touch the Bud Light. There are photos from concerts where no one will stand in line to purchase Bud Light. No one wants to drink the gay beer.
This is devastating for the brand, and their business model makes them especially vulnerable to these type of boycotts. Bud Light is a high volume, low profit margin product. The company also has a lot of fixed costs that they have to pay no matter how much they sell. They have to pay for the brewers and the trucks and the bottling facilities. And beer has to be cold, so everything is refrigerated, which is also expensive. Since Bud Light is so cheap normally, you have to sell a lot of it to make any money.
Let’s run some quick numbers. Now, I do not have any inside information into the company. I am just going to make some educated assumptions. If we look at the company’s annual report from last year, we see that their net profit margin is around 13%. If you assume that the Bud Light division is generally similar to the rest of the company, and you decrease sales and cost of goods sold by 30% (which is extremely conservative because we know there are fixed costs they cannot reduce), that results in a net profit margin of -4%. At the lower volume, if they were selling cans at full price, they would still be losing money. And that does not take into account fixed costs, or the discounts, or the other beers that have dropped in sales. The Bud Light division is essentially bankrupt, and the parent company is likely pouring in money to keep them afloat.
Wall Street knows this, and the stock of the parent company has been crashing. Here is the stock chart. Here is when they first did the Dylan Mulvaney promotion. You can see that it only dipped slightly for the first month. Then when the sales data started coming in, we see absolute panic. The price is crashing. The stock is down 17%. Just so you understand what that means, here is a breakdown of the parent company’s international operations by volume. Based on these numbers, if investors are saying they think the company is suddenly worth 17% less, that means that investors are assuming all US operations get shut down. The boycott is working.
On April 14, the company CEO responded to the controversy by issuing a press release. But it did not include an apology. It explained they “never intended to be part of a conversation that divides people.” This made people even more mad. Bud Light did not address the issue. They did not accept accountability. And they did not say they were sorry.
What is even more confusing is that Bud Light continues to make the situation worse. Rather than apologizing, they have doubled down. They issued a press release bragging about a $200,000 donation to LGBT causes. The parent company Anheuser-Busch is sponsoring Pride parades in Chicago, San Francisco, Charlotte, and other cities. Bud Light is co-sponsoring an all ages drag show party at a Pride event in Flagstaff, AZ.
And then came the Target scandal. This is the same business situation. Target is a high volume, low profit margin business. So, if a boycott lasts too long, Target will go bankrupt. Target has had pride merchandise in previous years, but they went more extreme this year, highlighting trans swimwear and trans children’s books for ages as young as 2 years old. I do not know about you, but I do not know any two year olds who are thinking about their gender orientation. But it gets even more extreme. Target worked with a satanic designer. Erik Carnell is a trans designer who transitioned from a woman to a man. The clothing designs included a shirt that says, “satan respects pronouns.” Here is another piece from the collection. This is a pin that appears to be calling to kill anyone critical of trans people. This pin is calling for violence. There is not just one pin with this violent message. Here’s another one. And another one. And another one. To be fair, since the controversy, this designer has come out and said they are not a satanist and the outrage is misplaced. We obviously cannot know what this person believes. But I can see this shirt. Do you see the word satan? I see the word satan. I think it is reasonable to describe this as satanic merchandise.
For the sake of clarity, Target did not carry the satanic or violent items in the store. But I think that is even worse. That means that some executive at Target reviewed the satanic items in the collection, and decided they still wanted to partner with this brand. They would just choose the items that did not mention satan for the display at the front of their stores.
Just like Bud Light, this was a bad business decision. Transitioning children is a hot button issue. Target is alienating the majority of their customer base for a very small, niche community. They are enraging any conservative Christian by displaying satanic merchandise at the front of the store. Would Target ever display Christian brands with crosses on them in the front of the store? In fact, what they could do, is have the Christian section right next to the satanic section and see where the most people shop. But of course they are not going to do that, because it is a bad business idea.
Now I know I am going to get angry comments on this video from trans activists for even talking about this topic. But I am sorry. You cannot call me a homophobe, because I am gay. I rarely talk about it, but I came out on YouTube many years ago, back before it was cool. So, I think I should be able to talk about this subject, and I think that anyone should be able to talk about their concerns. It is not hateful to state the obvious, that this was a bad business decision. It is very simple. A decision was made. It might cause the company to go bankrupt. That was a bad business decision.
These conservative shoppers have a reason to be upset. Last week, the Defense of Freedom Institute released this report on grooming in public schools. They looked at data provided by the Government Accountability Office which showed a massive increase in sexual abuse. The report explains that “a teacher who sexually abuses children is, on average, passed to three school districts and may have as many as 73 victims.” This practice of moving child molesters around the education system was referred to by colleagues as “passing the trash.” Our public schools are protecting child molesters and hiding it from the public. They started tracking this in 2010 and the situation has gotten worse. Between 2010 and 2019, complaints of sexual violence against children in K-12 education has increased 300% based on the statistics reported by the Department of Education. These are horrifying statistics. This is like the sex abuse scandal that happened in the Catholic church, but this time it is in our schools and your tax dollars are paying for it. These statistics are not from conservative studies. This is the government’s own data.
I am not against trans people. I have friends who are trans who are wonderful people. I think most people are fine with trans people living their life in a way that makes them happy. But you cannot ignore that there are controversial issues going on. Why does the trans community refuse to fight against grooming of children in schools? Kids are getting sexually abused, and Target is rubbing it in parent’s faces. That is a bad business decision.
Target’s stock has plummeted. It dropped 14% in nine days, and it has been getting worse. The stock is currently down 21%.
Target responded by issuing a press release. They did not apologize but they removed some items and moved the remaining items to the back of the store. But an internal memo shows Target referring to the boycotting customers as “extremist.” These internal documents show that Target views the customers as the enemy.
So the real question with both Bud Light and Target is “why is this happening?” There is an old saying in business that says, “The customer is always right.” Are you familiar with this? This is a really simple idea you can use to keep any business out of trouble. Target is ignoring this and saying that at their store, “The customer is always wrong.” Why are they doing this?
In these big companies, CEOs do not talk with customers very often. That’s unfortunate, because maybe if they did, this wouldn’t happen. Who they do talk with is the big banks. They hold a quarterly earnings call with their biggest investors where they directly answer questions. If the bankers are not happy, they will dump their stock, and crash the price. So, the CEO’s are highly incentivized to pay attention to major financial companies like Blackrock, rather than their own customers. Plus, you get paid more as a CEO if the stock price does well. So, CEOs would rather screw over their customers rather than risk angering the banks.
The way to keep the banks happy is through ESG. You have probably heard of ESG. It is the social credit score for companies being pushed by Blackrock. A video from 2017 resurfaced this week with Blackrock CEO Larry Fink talking about ESG. He was talking about hiring quotas for diversity and said, “You have to force behaviors” in companies on “gender and race” and “diversity”. ESG comes up with a score for companies based on a long list of issues. But here is the problem. If you go down the list of what ESG is scoring, it is the Democrat party platform. Your company is scored on how closely you comply with what the Democrat party wants. If you question the Democrat talking points, you lose your ESG score, your ability to bank, and your stock price goes down. Trans issues are a part of ESG. You must support trans issues, but you cannot talk about grooming in schools. Even though there is a clear controversy, you can only publicly acknowledge the side of the argument that supports the Democrat party. ESG is the weaponization of the banking system against the American people.
There is a very specific reason why the Democrat party controls ESG. Part of the ESG calculation is CEI or Corporate Equality Index. This score is given by the Human Rights Campaign. Well, in both the situations with Bud Light and Target, the Human Rights Campaign sent both companies a letter when the controversy started. In the letters, they threaten to reduce the company CEI score if they responded to the boycott. That is why these companies are ignoring their customers. This is bizarre, because the Human Rights Campaign is a major Democrat lobbying group. They spend millions of dollars in campaign contributions and lobbying, all for Democrats. No Republicans. This is the group that is determining a company’s ESG score. Do you see the conflict of interest? A Democrat lobbying group is making companies ignore their customers, in order to push the Democrat agenda. I think we need to start calling out ESG for what it is. ESG is compelled speech, a violation of your First Amendment right to free speech. In the case of trans issues, it is also a violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act which covers all financial products and makes it illegal to discriminate based on religious affiliation. So, if ESG is asking questions about social behavior to identify what private beliefs people hold about trans issues, that is illegal. You have rights and you can push back.
This is how I see it. In America, you have two groups of people. One group of people thinks that we should medically transition children. The other group of people thinks we should not medically transition children. And neither group is going to agree with each other. What I find wrong, is that ESG is forcing companies to publicly agree with one group for political reasons. That is compelled speech, and it is wrong.
I will say it again, just so this is clear. Democrats determine the ESG scores for companies in order to push Democrat policies. It is done out in the open and it is not right. In this case, the Human Rights Campaign followed through on their threat. On May 9, HRC reduced Bud Light’s CEI score, because the company did not come out more strongly against the boycott. The $200,000 donation Bud Light made to LGBT causes was apparently not enough money. On May 23, HRC released another statement threatening Target to return all merchandise items back to the front of their stores or else. We are still waiting to see if they will drop Target’s CEI score.
What I always advocate for on this channel is free market solutions. We need to get politics out of our businesses. We need to get rid of ESG. We need to tell Blackrock that “No, you cannot push your agenda on us.” ESG has become a way to weaponize the banking system against Americans. People are sick and tired of having politics forced on them when they are just trying to shop. We need to get back to what business should be about, listening to your customers.
Bud Light press release https://www.anheuser-busch.com/newsroom/our-responsibility-to-america
Target internal memo https://twitter.com/charliekirk11/status/1662240074585755649
Bud Light Donation https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2023/06/bud-light-donate-200000-lgbtq-business-owners-color/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=bud-light-donate-200000-lgbtq-business-owners-color
AB InBev 2022 Financial Report https://www.ab-inbev.com/assets/pressreleases/2023/FY%20Financial%20Report%202022.pdf
AP News – Target items https://apnews.com/article/fact-check-target-pride-LGBTQ-satanic-998363252236
Gateway Pundit – Target items removed https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2023/06/jp-morgan-downgrades-target-as-retailer-suffers-longest/
WNG – Designer https://wng.org/opinions/hanging-with-satan-1685963659
Defense of Freedom Institute report – https://dfipolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Catching-the-Trash-FNL.pdf
Government Accountability Office (GAO) https://www.gao.gov/assets/gao-11-200.pdf
Newsweek Bud Light Sales Data https://www.newsweek.com/anheuser-busch-inbev-ceo-tells-investors-about-declining-bud-light-sales-1798442
Daily Mail – Bud Light 60% decline in sales https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12157745/Bud-Light-boycott-hits-salespeople-cuts-commissions-continue-thanks-disastrous-partnership.html
Newsweek – HRC demands to Target https://www.newsweek.com/lgbtq-organizations-give-target-list-demands-amid-boycott-1804596
Yahoo – Bud Light CEI reduced https://finance.yahoo.com/news/lgbtq-group-suspends-bud-light-210603298.html
Truth Social: https://truthsocial.com/@FinanceWolves
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Neither Zach De Gregorio or Wolves and Finance shall be liable for any damages related to information in this video. It is recommended you contact a CPA in your area for business advice.