No One Seems to Be Happy With Bud's New Ad

Beer giant's promo ticks off the right and the left after controversy around transgender influencer
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2023 8:44 AM CDT

Conservatives are trashing Bud Light, literally and figuratively, as well as Anheuser-Busch's other offerings, in the wake of a partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. Now, a new ad from the beverage giant appears to be trying to smooth over that backlash, though it doesn't appear to be having the desired effect. Per CBS News, the one-minute spot posted Friday on the company's social media shows one of the Budweiser brand's famous Clydesdale horses "galloping past patriotic symbols" and other landmarks, including the Lincoln Memorial, the raising of an American flag, the Brooklyn Bridge, and St. Louis' Gateway Arch.

"Let me tell you a story about a beer rooted in the heart of America," the ad's voice-over notes, before adding, "This is a story bigger than beer. This is the story of the American spirit." The new promotion dropped the same day as a statement from Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth, in which, without directly citing Mulvaney or the ensuing controversy, he noted that the company "never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people," per the Washington Post. "We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer," he wrote. "We have thousands of partners, millions of fans, and a proud history supporting our communities, military, first responders, sports fans, and hard-working Americans everywhere."

Both the statement and the ad irritated those on both sides of the aisle. One take in the Advocate accuses Budweiser of leaving Mulvaney "twisting in the wind, abandoning any kind of defense of her." Gay writer Kurt Thigpen writes: "Notice there are no LGBTQ+ folks" in the ad. But much of the pushback is coming from the right, with many demanding an apology instead and flagging the apparent 180, per Fox News. "Lol, hard pivot huh?" one commenter tweeted.

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Meanwhile, a whole new group is upset at Anheuser-Busch over the ad: Per Newsweek, PETA is calling attention to what it says is the amputation of tailbones of the Clydesdales that Budweiser commissions. "If Budweiser thinks 'the American spirit' condones the needless mutilation of horses' tails just to make them look a certain way, it is out of touch with public sentiment against cruelty to animals," PETA chief Ingrid Newkirk says in a statement. Anheuser-Busch hadn't yet responded to Newsweek's request for comment on that by publication time. (More Budweiser stories.)

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