Bud Light Enters Its 10th Week of Hell as Target Tumbles and Starbucks Panics, BANS Pride Displays

Brands Stumble: Bud, Target, Starbucks
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In an astonishingly bold illustration of consumer power, Anheuser-Busch, the beer titan, grapples with an unprecedented sales freefall. Tens of millions, outraged by an ill-advised Bud Light promotion, are in open revolt. And it’s not just Anheuser-Busch; Target and Starbucks are also caught in the crossfire of a public enraged by misplaced cultural priorities.

America’s great breweries have always been a symbol of tradition and resilience. Anheuser-Busch, with its iconic brands such as Budweiser, Busch, and Michelob, has stood as an undisputed leader among them. However, today, the brewing giant faces a crisis the likes of which it has never seen before. Over the past ten weeks, the company’s sales have plunged a staggering 27%, a trend triggered by a promotional video that sparked outrage and led to a nationwide boycott.


The video, posted by Dylan Mulvaney, an employee perhaps lacking the necessary foresight for such a public role, has dramatically backfired. It has become a painful reminder for corporations of the significant ramifications when social activism overshadows their core purpose. Citi’s latest data reveal Bud Light sales continue to tumble, dropping an additional 3.7% from last week alone.

Dylan Mulvaney

Nor is the damage limited to Bud Light. Anheuser-Busch’s wider portfolio, including Busch and Stella Artois, report a similar alarming decline, with volumes down by 13.8% and 9.9% respectively. But what makes this crisis uniquely potent is the seeming absence of an end in sight. Despite attempts to resolve the controversy, Anheuser-Busch’s sales continue to nose-dive, casting a dark shadow over investor sentiment.

Yet, Anheuser-Busch isn’t alone in this struggle. Target, one of America’s most popular retail chains, also teeters on the edge of a financial precipice. Following the decision to move certain LGBTQ Pride displays, the company’s market cap tumbled over $15.7 billion, marking a troubling 52-week low. Initial criticism from conservative groups has now grown into a broader backlash, putting the retailer in an undesirable spot.

Target is Tucked

Citi analyst Paul Lejuez has sounded the alarm, lowering his stock recommendation for Target from ‘buy’ to ‘neutral.’ He cautions against Target’s overexposure to discretionary sales, particularly in the current macro environment. With the brewing controversies and inflationary pressures, he suspects more downside risks in the near term.

In an unexpected twist, Starbucks, the multinational coffeehouse giant, has found itself embroiled in similar controversy. Reportedly, the company has taken down Pride decorations, which has traditionally been a part of its annual celebration. This decision came despite a partnership with artist Tim Singleton for designing Pride-themed tumblers.

While Starbucks spokesperson Andrew Trull denies any policy changes, workers across 21 states tell a different story, alleging all Pride decorations were ordered to be removed. If true, this indicates a potential shift in the corporation’s approach to public relations, further fueling the ongoing cultural debate.

It’s clear: the tug-of-war between corporations and culture has reached a fever pitch. Anheuser-Busch, Target, and Starbucks, all juggernauts of industry, now face an emboldened public ready to fight back against perceived cultural transgressions. Amid plummeting stocks and scathing public sentiment, the message is clear – corporate America must rethink its strategy or face the power of the consumer’s purse. The cultural battlefield is drawn; how these corporate giants navigate it will define their future.

Gary Franchi

Gary Franchi

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