How DEI And Globalism Pollutes American Culture: The Bud Light Affair

Even though Budweiser choosing a silly, female- (and male) mocking trans “influencer” to promote a product with a market base guaranteed to find the campaign offensive, it made sense to do it anyway. How? Why? The answer shows just how difficult it will be, and already is, for the United States to maintain its unique values, ethical, political and otherwise, in a global culture determined to force our outlying experiment in individual liberty into conformity.

That video above is from Refinitiv, a hugely influential international company I never had heard of before last week. It is an American-British global provider of financial market data and infrastructure, founded in 2018 as a subsidiary of London Stock Exchange Group. The company has an annual turnover of $6 billion with more than 40,000 client companies in 190 countries. Though it presumes to rank companies according to their “ethics,” it is a soul-less, ethics-free company itself. For example, Refinitiv bowed to pressure from China during 2019–20 Hong Kong protests, censoring over 200 stories by Reuters by removing them from its Eikon platform for consumers in Mainland China. The company then developed a “Strategic China filter” to block politically-sensitive stories from readers in Mainland China.

This is the company that Budweiser was submitting to by turning Bud Lite into a DEI pandering product. Refinitiv wields a powerful Diversity and Inclusion Index “designed to measure the relative performance of companies against factors that define diverse and inclusive workplaces.” Woke and “socially conscious investors, including institutional investors, rely on the index to make investment decisions. A declining or inadequate index can mean billions in lost investments.

Budweiser’s seemingly incomprehensible decision to do a complete 180 degree reversal in its public image was driven by slavish fealty to this made-up index, which has power because people and organization have chosen to give it power. In this it resembles the Southern Poverty Law Center, a left-wing advocacy group that can brand an organization as “racist” or as a “hate group” just by saying so. To Refinitiv’s world view, making a trans celebrity a spokesperson justifies gold stars and bonus points.

Bud Light’s vice president Alissa Heinerscheid spoke on a business podcast on March 30 to claim that the Anheuser-Busch beer had been “in decline for a really long time” a few days before its transexual adventure was revealed. How could the brand be declining when it is America’s number one beer with a market share of more than 13 percent? Heinerscheid stated that it was essential that the brand attract more female and younger drinkers because otherwise “there will be no future for Bud Light.” What she was referring to was its Diversity and Inclusion score.

No wonder that is so important to her: Heinerscheid’s only reason for being an executive at Budweiser at all is to beef up the DEI numbers. Bud Light’s parent company is Anheuser-Busch InBev, a Belgian giant. She previously worked in marketing at AB InBev before being moved to take the helm as Bud Light’s vice president in July of last year. Her promotion was perfectly in tune with the Biden Era, apparently fueled by it making her the “first female to lead the largest beer brand in the industry.” The previous products she has promoted were Listerine mouthwash and Cheerios. If she has anything in her background to indicate familiarity with Bud Light’s long-time market and culture, I can’t see it. I bet she doesn’t even drink beer. She definitely doesn’t like who drinks it, saying,

“We had this hangover, I mean Bud Light had been kind of a brand of fratty, kind of out of touch humor, and it was really important that we had another approach….I had a really clear job to do when I took over Bud Light, and it was ‘This brand is in decline, it’s been in a decline for a really long time, and if we do not attract young drinkers to come and drink this brand there will be no future for.'”

“Decline” in woke-speak means “not enough of the right people were buying our product, and our Refinitiv index was down.” This woman. historic though she is, is a Wharton grad, where apparently they never studied New Coke. Her logic sounds very familiar. Even if she fails this time, however, the irresistible force represented by the Refinitiv Borg-like “Conform or else!” will remain.

We can hope against hope that resistance isn’t futile and the United States will be able to avoid being “assimilated.” It is clear, however, that our biggest corporations will be fighting alongside the enemy.

13 thoughts on “How DEI And Globalism Pollutes American Culture: The Bud Light Affair

  1. So this is the Jesse Jackson Rainbow/Push shakedown on steroids.

    Welcome to the 21st century. It isn’t turning out as I’d hoped…

  2. Bing, bing, bing. You hit so many targets in this story. Anheuser Busch is no longer an American company. This woman probably lives in Brooklyn. I doubt she’s ever been west of Hoboken. She probably got this position via a headhunter. She appears to be a lesbian, at least to my eyes. Why didn’t InBev just bring out a new woke brand? Wait, maybe they already have one: Stella Artois! Or even run a Michelob Ultra campaign targeted at hipsters and trans women. It’s already marketed to image-obsessed people.

    This is just a prime example of the inmates running the asylum. And how could senior management at InBev be criticized for hiring a Wharton grad? Frankly, I’m not sure InBev really gives a rat’s ass about Bud or Bud Lite. I’m pretty sure they bought out the Busch family to gain access for Stella to all the American grocery store shelf footage Bud had acquired over the years. For years, InBev, with the assistance of a consortium of European banks and, doubtless, the Belgian government, has been picking up brands by buying out the hapless younger generations of the brands’ founders. It’s a great business plan. And surprisingly, Bud is incredibly popular throughout the rest of the world. So InBev can cash in on that.

    (Mrs. OB worked on the InBev account while at IBM. There are lots of great Belgian beers. They claim to have invented it. And they may be right.)

  3. What if DEI is the lattest effort not just to control but to condition people into expecting that sympathy is the primary determinate value? Being conditioned to receive rather than resist.

  4. Woke and “socially conscious investors, including institutional investors, rely on the index to make investment decisions.

    This here is a problem I’ve been thinking about for some time. With institutional investors, it isn’t a matter of rich individuals using their own money to push their value system. Instead, it means individuals in a position of trust are pushing their values using their clients’ money, often to the financial detriment of those clients.

    What we need is a way to put a stop to this. Individual investors in mutual funds, pension funds, and the like should have a mechanism for “voting the shares” that they indirectly own. Moving money to another institution is not a satisfactory solution, as many people are locked into specific institutions through employer 401k plans, union pension funds, and the like.

    • Dave, you are absolutely correct. A major hurdle is the enormous amount of information (financial gibberish) that you have to wade through to learn how your funds are being invested. What is needed is a simple check box that you must opt into to have your money be allocated to funds using the DEI index. Mutual funds should be required to first perform their financial fiduciary duty unless otherwise directed.

      One of the reasons why corporate compensation has gotten so damn high is that shareholders do not or cannot spend the time poring over highly complex consolidated financial statements to learn about the increases. It is virtually impossible for small shareholders to vote on most issues.

  5. I just have to point out that the Borg were the most diverse group encountered in Star Trek. Look at all the quantity of biological and technological distinctiveness added to the collective! And it fits right in the DEI culture: all the outward differentiations, inwardly a hive mind. (Someday, though, the Borg will be flung under the bus when it becomes apparent how much cultural appropriation they engaged in.)

    I wish the “Go woke, go broke” had a bit more influence, which it doesn’t seem to have even with the number of instances where it has definitely proven true. The problem is the differing values going into this. These companies are finding that at some level, a great many people are at least giving lip-service to the idea that inclusivity and fairness are more important than profits or even fiscal solvency. These are people who find it more virtuous and more important to captain a sinking DEI ship than to run a successful business. Caring about money is evil, and never mind that making prudent financial decisions actually benefits people, and steering a once-good business onto the DEI rocks ends up hurting a great many people.

    Margaret Thatcher said, “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” The same principle applies here. These DEI initiatives and indexes can only last as long as there are thriving businesses to subsidize the terrible losses incurred by chasing these feel-good-but-otherwise-nonsensical goals.

    Bud Lite was in decline? Why might that be? Its entire premise is an inexpensive beer with some fewer calories (in comparison to other lagers) so it could ride some of the health fads. In recent decades, it has had to compete with this novel concept: flavor. There are myriad microbrews out there now, to the point where as much shelf space in the store is dedicated to microbrews, and especially to IPAs, as to the cheap, bulk lager. The way to haul Bud Lite out of its downward spiral might be to appeal to a new crowd, but how is slapping a trans influencer on the can going to accomplish that? The trans population is too small, and the people really into the DEI are also often very concerned with health and environment, who would prefer to eat organic and reduce their carbon footprint. These are not your typical cheap beer drinkers. More, the number of people who are actually sold into the DEI concepts are far fewer than we are led to believe. Most people will grit their teeth and ignore the DEI initiatives popping up around them unless it actually directly impacts them. That’s when the backlash finally occurs, and it comes as a surprise to all these DEI leaders because they have no clue that most people are not on board with their ideas.

    • In recent decades, it has had to compete with this novel concept: flavor.

      This is what gets me shut the whole fiasco. I get that they want to appeal to new demographics. But when they were choosing those new target groups, did “people who like the taste of beer” even make the short list?

      • I just heard Denis Leary’s classic rant about beer labels from a decade ago. “What the fuck is Santa Claus doing on a beer bottle? “Pete’s Summer Ale…Pete’s Special Brew…who the hell is Pete? Fuck Pete!” I wonder what Denis thinks about the Bud Lite episode?

  6. One of the themes that pops up regularly in the Wall Street Journal is the idea of funds that do ESG investing — i.e. they play a higher value on a company’s ESG index than it’s financial prospects.

    The problem that has been developing is that these funds, from studies I’ve seen, tend to have higher costs and lower returns than funds that invest using traditional metrics. There has been a backlash developing against ESG investing.

    You may have heard that Attorneys General from a number of states have put funds on notice that their primary obligation is to fulfill a fiduciary duty to their investors, basically to put financial returns first and foremost when deciding where to invest.

    The states can have considerable clout that individuals are hard pressed to match — they have huge pension funds that have to be invested and, if they decide to switch their investments it will actually hurt these firms.

    We’ll have to see how this plays out.

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