Anheuser-Busch’s chief marketing officer said Monday while accepting an award at an advertising awards ceremony that the Bud Light partnership with Dylan Mulvaney was a humbling reminder it needs to better understand its customers.
Marcel Marcandes made the ironic comment while accepting the ‘Creative Marketer of the Year’ award at the Cannes Lions – a huge industry conference in the south of France known as the ‘Oscars of the advertising industry’.
It comes months after a campaign partnered with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney lost $27 billion in value. That upset conservatives, and then it failed to support Mulvaney, even through a backlash from liberals.
Although AB was named as the winner of the award before the debacle began, it wasn’t officially awarded until Monday, meaning there was a powerful elephant in the room. Some even said the company should decline the award, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Anheuser-Busch chief marketing officer Marcel Marcondes (pictured) says the Bud Light partnership with Dylan Mulvaney is a humbling reminder that it needs to better understand its customers.
Marcondes made the comments while accepting the awards at the Cannes Lions 2023 (pictured), a huge industry conference in the south of France known as the ‘Oscars for the advertising industry’.
Although AB was named the winner of the award before the disaster broke out in early April, it was not officially given out until Monday. Some suggested that AB not accept the award
But he first mentioned it during a presentation, according to a report by AdAge.
“At a time like this, when things can become so easily divisive and controversial, I think it’s an important wake-up call for all of us marketers to be very humble first of all,” he said, according to the AdAge report.
‘That’s what we’re doing, being very humble, and really reminding us of what we do best every day, which is to understand our consumers,’ the outlet told him.
‘Which is to really celebrate and appreciate each consumer who loves our brand – but in a way that allows them to be together, not apart,’ he said.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the session was described in the programming notes as a discussion about AB InBev’s ‘relentless focus on connecting with customers in meaningful ways’.
Marcondes has worked at AB InBev for nearly two decades, according to his LinkedIn profile, and now oversees global marketing strategies for other AB brands, including Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob ULTRA, Stella Artois.
“It’s difficult to see the contentious and divisive debate that has been going on in the United States over the past few weeks involving so many brands and companies, and Bud Light in particular,” Marcondes said during Monday’s presentation.
‘It’s just hard because what we do is bring people together.’
‘That’s what Bud Light stands for – it exists to make beer easy to drink and enjoy,’ he said.
“This is what we will all do as a team, move forward as a team. That’s what leaders do. Bud light is coming back. It’s going across the country, reconnecting with consumers, moving forward. This is what you can expect from Bud Light USA.’
The AB executive collected the award months after the company lost $27 billion in value due to a marketing campaign partnership with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
Anheuser-Busch is led by US CEO Brendan Whitworth, a former Marine lieutenant, CIA officer and Harvard Business School graduate, who joined AB in 2014.
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In 2022, AB also received the same award at the InBev festival. Marketing firm founder Leela Fatar who attended the event this year suggested to The Washington Post that AB should have considered not accepting the award.
‘In the spirit of fairness and credibility, I think returning the 2023 award, making the necessary changes and coming back stronger would be a big and right gesture for AB InBev,’ he said.
The conference was organized as Bud Light prepares to launch a campaign this week that will emphasize ‘inclusion’ in response to the disastrously divisive campaign earlier in the year.
America’s Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth also announced that the company would be ‘investing’ in protecting the jobs of its frontline staff – indicating that the decline in sales has taken its toll on the brand.
In an announcement Thursday, Whitworth acknowledged that ‘the conversation surrounding our company and Bud Light has shifted away from beer, and that has affected our consumers, our business partners and our employees.’
Whitworth added: ‘We are a beer company, and beer is for everyone. Today, we are announcing three important steps to take our business forward
‘First, we are investing in protecting the jobs of our frontline staff. Second, we are providing financial support to our independent wholesalers to support their employees.
‘Third, to all our valued consumers, we hear you. Our summer ad launches next week, and you can look forward to Bud Light reinforcing what you love about our brand – that it’s easy to drink and easy to enjoy.
Anheuser-Busch, the parent company of Bud Light, saw its market capitalization drop by $27 billion after a disastrous team-up with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney (pictured).
Anheuser-Busch America CEO Brendan Whitworth has announced that the company will ‘invest’ in its frontline workers to protect their jobs.
‘As we move forward we will focus on doing what we do best – making great beer and earning our place in the moments that matter to you. Here’s to a future with more cheer.’
The ad campaign will launch next week, and Bud Light will be portrayed as ‘easy to drink and easy to enjoy’.
It’s one of the few incidents the company has directly addressed because of its partnership with Mulvaney – as bosses initially claimed that ‘an outside agency took steps to work with Mulvaney without management awareness or approval.’
Anheuser-Busch said earlier this month that it would triple its marketing spending in the U.S. this summer as it tries to boost ailing sales.
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