Following a recent baseball game in the United States, writer Jonathan Turley from American news outlet The Hill wrote about how he had witnessed another attendee at the game being offered free beer from a beer vendor worker. The beer in question was the now-infamous Bud Light, the very same brand of beer that had been boycotted en masse following the company’s publicity collaboration with American transgender social media personality Dylan Mulvaney. Turley wrote in his article for The Hill that it seemed to him that Bud Light were now evidently giving away their beers for free, since the conservative-led mass boycott campaign had proven to be so utterly disastrous and damaging for the stock value of Bud Light’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch. As of the writing of this article, since the beginning of the mass boycott, the company has lost almost $20 billion. According to Turley, the fellow baseball fan that he had witnessed at the game’s beer vendor had even rejected this offer of free Bud Light, choosing instead to pay money for a different beer.
Various media outlets and commentators – admittedly, myself included – were initially very much sceptical over the potential of the mass boycott in damaging the image and stock value of “progressive” companies, such as Bud Light and others. Thankfully, we were wrong.
While most boycott campaigns do not lead to much result – largely due to the sheer number of participants needed in order for the boycott to make any significant negative impact on the respective brand – the mass boycott against Bud Light garnered so much support across North America and beyond, it quickly became one of the biggest and most successful mass boycott campaigns in recent years. Even sceptics of boycott campaigns, such as myself, were surprised at just how effective and damaging this campaign was against Bud Light. Even better for us conservatives, it is not just Bud Light which has been successfully damaged by mass boycotts. Other brands have also seen significant financial damage done to them following mass boycotts against their own respective “woke agendas” and “progressive” marketing strategies.
The shopping outlet Target has also been…well, targeted for a mass boycott due to its release of LGBT clothing for children, including swimwear. Designed by transgender artist Erik Carnell, one of these products was the so-called “tuck-friendly” swimwear for children, which was designed to “accommodate” for “trans kids” who wished to hide their private parts if they were “male-to-female” transgender kids. To the surprise of very few, Target was almost immediately mass boycotted, and, very quickly, Target removed their LGBT clothing brands for children and ultimately saw a financial loss of almost $10 billion.
Another important outcome from these mass boycotts has been a stronger public debate over corporate marketing strategies which are more focused on politics instead of actually promoting the respective products in question. So-called “progressive” consumers argue that such mass boycotts somehow threaten the communities and demographics which have been given publicity due to their presence in such brands’ marketing campaigns. Specifically, it has been the LGBT and black communities that have been the biggest PR tools, so to speak, in marketing campaigns for all of these products and brands.
Conservatives have argued that focusing on politics over the actual products in the marketing of these respective brands will actually do more to alienate consumers in general, rather than invite more people into trying out and purchasing said products. This is especially true if such companies actively tell their more conservative customers that “if they don’t like it, don’t buy it”. In theory, this “advice” may seem understandable, to an extent, as nobody is forcing anybody to buy said products if they do not wish to do so, but if you are the CEO of a company, you are generally supposed to invite MORE people to buy your products, not LESS.
A good example of how much this “if don’t like it, don’t buy it” rhetoric can backfire against a company is the 2018 video game Battlefield V. This Second World War-themed video game was announced and revealed via a cinematic trailer which depicted a highly stylised and fictionalised version of World War II – female soldiers fighting in armies in which they would not have fought in combat roles, characters with historically inaccurate uniforms and equipment, some characters bearing prosthetic limbs (which would have otherwise excluded them from combat roles), etc. The backlash to the reveal of Battlefield V and its subsequent release was even stronger when the game prior to this entry, Battlefield 1, was advertised and released as a far more realistic depiction of the First World War. Unsurprisingly, this older entry was far better received by critics and players, and continues to see high player numbers consistently. The publisher of the Battlefield franchise, Electronic Arts (EA), recorded that the number of pre-orders for Battlefield V was 85% behind that of their main franchise rivals, Call of Duty, which saw the release of the futuristic and multiplayer-focused Call of Duty: Black Ops IV that very same year.
Although “progressive” marketing had been all the rage over the course of the 2010s, in these early years of the 2020s, it is becoming increasingly evident that general consumers are becoming quite tired of being preached to by corporations, and would much rather just simply be presented with products and brands that will satisfy their respective needs as consumers. While almost all of these boycotted companies will continue to make money and survive as corporations, the financial hits and reputational damage that they have sustained as a result of their extremely poor marketing strategies will also make them think twice before attempting such PR campaigns again anytime soon. Bud Light is merely the first in what will likely become a long line of companies that will ultimately suffer from mass boycotts and consumer backlash, if they continue to push these narratives of “social justice” over actually delivering a good product to its potential consumer base.
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