A major multinational bank downgraded the stock status of Anheuser-Busch amidst the continued fallout from the Dylan Mulvaney partnership controversy.
HSBC downgraded the stock of Anheuser-Busch InBev to a hold status, meaning investors should neither buy nor sell shares of it. In an analysis, Carlos Laboy, managing director for the global beverage sector of HSBC, said that AB InBev had poorly handled its efforts to shift its brand culture in the U.S. AB InBev’s sales have continued to plummet because of the fallout.
“Is ABI’s leadership getting the brand culture transformation right? It’s mixed,” Laboy wrote in a note that was published on CNBC Wednesday, via the New York Post. “At [Brazilian beverage giant] Ambev, we think the answer is ‘yes;’ in the U.S., we think it’s ‘no’,” Laboy wrote.
“The way this Bud Light crisis came about a month ago, management’s response to it and the loss of unprecedented volume and brand relevance raises many questions,” Laboy added. “Why did its US leadership underestimate the risk of pushback given the recent experience of other firms? Is A-B hiring the best people to grow the brands and gauge risk? If Budweiser and Bud Light are iconic American ideas that have long brought consumers together, why did these marketers fail to invite new consumers without alienating the core base of the firm’s largest brand?”
The fallout from Mulvaney’s partnership has caused Anheuser-Busch’s sales to plummet. Nationwide retail sales of Bud Light were down 23.4% year-over-year for the week of April 29, according to data from NielsenIQ and Bump Williams Consulting data, obtained by the New York Post. That number is worse than the 21.4% decline from the previous week. It is also the fourth consecutive week in which sales have dropped by double-digit figures.
The backlash has also spread across AB InBev’s other American brands: Budweiser sales dropped 11.4% for the week ending April 29; Michelob Ultra, the third highest-selling brand behind Bud Light and Modelo Especial, was down 4.4%; Natural Light was down 5.2%; Busch Light, 1.8%.
“It’s not just a Bud Light issue,” CEO Bump Williams told the New York Post. “It’s an Anheuser-Busch portfolio problem now.”
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“If Bud Light doesn’t fix its trend by the end of this month, it will continue to lose market share because it will lose Memorial Day. That kicks off the summer season,” Williams added. “There has to be a sense of urgency for InBev to correct these trends.”
Despite the continued freefall of Bud Light’s sales, Daily Wire host Michael Knowles points out that its parent company cannot break its commitment to left-wing ideology. Knowles pointed out Monday that AB InBev is a member of The World Federation of Advertisers. That group created The Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), a “cross industry initiative” to “demonetize … harmful content.”
“GARM is so powerful and controls so much advertising money (like that of Bud Light) that YouTube, Meta (FB & IG), Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, and others are writing pages of reports about how they will run their platforms to satisfy GARM standards,” Knowles wrote. Worse than that, GARM is also backed by the World Economic Forum as a “flagship project” under their “Platform for Shaping the Future of Media, Entertainment and Sport.”