‘Hey, I Thought There was a Boycott!’

So said I to my wife when we passed by the discarded can today. I don’t drink beer—or any other alcoholic beverages—and am only aware of the Bud Light boycott because it blasted across every avenue and alley along the Information Superhighway (yeah, call me archaic), starting in April 2023. Anheuser-Busch made the marketing mistake of aligning with a transgender TikToker.

Sales plummeted, and the brewer stumbled into “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” territory. Distancing damage control precipitated a backlash among the Rainbow coalition of gender-identifying letters. Along the spectrum of staunch conservatives to prickly progressives, Anheuser-Busch managed to offend just about everyone who drank Bud Light, which was the most popular beer in the United States before the fiasco’s start.

Earlier this month, Mexican beer Modelo Especial snatched Bud Light’s crown. Revenue and share losses have been brutal. As example: For the week that ended June 17, sales plummeted 28.5 percent year over year—among the steepest slumps since Anheuser-Busch offended seemingly every customer of any cultural or political persuasion.

In an effort to boost sales, the brewer is practically giving away the beer. A $15-rebate on 15-can cases brings the cost down to about zero, before sales tax and redemption value (if any). That might explain the discarded beer can; perhaps more will appear in the days ahead.

If your brand’s value is less than expired dogfood, why not go out swinging—salvage something with sarcasm the majority of people supporting the boycott might appreciate: Picture an advertisement featuring a swanky fine wine conversing with a bottle of beer. “I identify as Bud Light!” the wine proclaims. Cue the laugh track and jeering crowd.

There are reasons why no one will ever hire me to write advertising copy. You know?

The Featured Image comes from Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Vitals: f/1.7, ISO 10, 1/400 sec, 23mm (film equivalent); 10:32 a.m. PDT. The photo is composed as cropped and otherwise unaltered. The smartphone’s Portrait mode produced the bokeh effect.