The Bud Light Trans-Pandering Fiasco Sucks Ann Althouse Into Her Most Clueless Post Ever

I am, as regular readers here know, generally an admirer of Ann Althouse, the retired Madison Wis. law professor who has operated a long-time blog with a wide following I can only envy. But when Ann jumps the rails, she doesn’t fool around, and her post today commenting on the Bud Light-Dylan Mulroney ethics train wreck makes me marvel, not for the first time, at some of her blind spots.

As usual, someone else’s article triggered her analysis; in this case, it was “Bud Light suffers bloodbath as longtime and loyal consumers revolt against transgender campaign/’In Bud Light’s effort to be inclusive, they excluded almost everybody else,’ says a St. Louis bar owner” at the Fox Business website. The passage that triggered Ann was this:

“Bud Light vice president of marketing Alissa Heinerscheid said she was inspired to update the ‘fratty’ and ‘out-of-touch’ humor of the beer company with ‘inclusivity’ in a March 30 interview with the podcast ‘Make Yourself At Home.’But her effort to be inclusive excluded the people who matter most — Bud Light drinkers, according to St. Louis-area operator John Rieker. ‘It’s kind of mind-boggling they stepped into this realm,’ Rieker, who owns Harpo’s Bar and Grill in Chesterfield, Missouri, told FOX Business. ‘You’re marketing to an audience that represents a fraction of 1% of consumers while alienating the much larger base of your consumers.'”

Here are Althouse’s reactions, with my reactions to her, because this cannot be left unrebutted:

“1. Since when is the model used in a beer ad representative of the people who drink the beer? It’s not a question of who the model is but whether the model will influence consumers to buy the product. No one really cares about the various traits of the consumer. It doesn’t matter that only “a fraction of 1%” of viewers of the ad are transwomen. What matters is whether this particular transwoman will influence more people to buy the product.”
Could Althouse be this unfamiliar with the principles of marketing? The models, spokespersons and graphics in any product’s marketing don’t “represent” the likely consumers, but they have to be in the positive side of those consumers’ cognitive dissonance scale, and as far up in positive territory as possible. You don’t use alluring photos of Eva Braun to advertise matzo balls. You don’t use Andrew Cuomo to promote women’s cosmetics. What Reiker is saying is that at best, a campy trans exhibitionist like Mulroney is only likely to appeal to a tiny percentage of the current and potential Bud Light market, and is going to evoke a negative reflex from the majority of both.
This isn’t hard.
2. You might buy a product because you identify with the model in the ad, but you might buy it because you’re attracted to the model — a skinny beautiful woman might make a fat man like the product — and you might buy it because the ad just caught your attention and made you remember the product so that you recognize it in the store. You might even miss the ad altogether but see that people are talking about the product in social media and in the mainstream news. 
Again: it’s Cognitive Dissonance 101. It is why babies and puppies are used in ads for products that have nothing to do with babies or puppies; the association pulls the product into positive territory. But a powerful negative association isn’t going to make you “remember” the product in a way that also makes you more likely to buy it.
3. The opponents of the ad make it viral, and then the question is whether you identify with the opponents — perhaps to the point where you’d participate in a boycott — or whether you find these people uncool and offputting. Maybe you wouldn’t have responded to overtly transgender women before but when you see hateful clods railing against them, you know you’re on the other side.
This is where Ann’s famous detachment and neutrality gets her into ethics muck.  Sure, I find the furious, vulgar, anti-trans critics of the Bud Light pandering “offputting,” and—cognitive dissonance again!—it might pull me away from a positive opinion regarding a boycott (though I generally abhor boycotts). But it isn’t going to make me any more sympathetic to Budweiser’s glamorizing and endorsing push-it-in-their-faces trans activism, which is what plastering Mulroney’s image on beer cans is.
It also reeks of indoctrination. The critics of the campaign have made it viral, and it should be viral. This crap is what corporations are doing now, and they should be exposed. Gender transitioning isn’t normal, and should not be normalized to the point that teens and pre-teens feel they have to mutilate their bodies before they are old enough to know what the lifetime consequences are. Ann’s post doesn’t hint that this part of the issue is even on her metaphorical radar. This controversy isn’t about beer, Ann.
4. Who drinks light beer anyway? Light beer ads have always struggled to prove their masculinity. But isn’t that old fashioned? Isn’t it “out-of-touch”? I don’t watch ads, so I’m sure I’ve missed a lot, but I remember ads that were premised on anxiety that light beer isn’t manly enough. The Dylan Mulvaney ad essentially says: We don’t worry about that anymore. We can be whatever we want. Relax. Have fun. Have a drink. And isn’t that what beer ought to say?
A lot of people drink light beer. For men, the appeal is that it is less caloric, and the ads legitimately argue that paying attention to what’s healthier imbibing doesn’t make a male light beer-drinker a weenie. If Ann doesn’t watch ads, what the hell is she expounding on advertising strategy for? Moreover, by what twisted logic does a beer company turn to a cross-dresser who takes pride in being a “woman” with male organs to deliver the message, “Have fun!” when to the vast, vast majority of beer drinkers, that isn’t their idea of fun at all? It’s their idea of “Ew!” A man, ex-man or however one wants to classify Mulroney is also, again to most, the epitome of what lite-beer drinkers don’t want to be seen as for avoiding the “more filling” brews.
5. Don’t like it? Don’t drink! Or drink yourself into oblivion. But don’t be an asshole. Why are you picking on Dylan Mulvaney? Do you think it makes you look like a man?

So Althouse thinks you are being an asshole if the makers of a product you enjoy, have been loyal to and purchase gratuitously and publicly associate consumption of that product with a set of values that you neither agree with or embrace. And if you object to this development regarding your favorite beer, just shut up and stop drinking it!

Nobody’s picking on Dylan Mulvaney. She’s getting paid good money along with free publicity to get between Bud Light drinkers and their beer. Who’s picking on whom?

49 thoughts on “The Bud Light Trans-Pandering Fiasco Sucks Ann Althouse Into Her Most Clueless Post Ever

  1. I’ve been a General Motors fan since the mid 1970’s, but GM pissed me off back when they took a bail out from the government. I sold both of the GM vehicles in my garage within a few months and I’ll never own another GM vehicle. Moral of the story; if you can’t properly run your business keep your hands away from tax dollars to bail you out. It’s just that simple for me.

    On that note…

    I went to a bar/restaurant on Friday evening to pick up our weekly carry out food order and instead of ordering my usual #1 choice a heavy Warped Speed (a heavy Scotch Ale) and since I didn’t want a heavy beer I found myself ordering a Coors Light instead of my usual #2 choice which had been Bud Light. I’m really tired of the social justice woke crowd. Moral of the story; go woke, go broke. It’s just that simple for me.

    • You had to choose between a beer from Golden, Colorado and one from St. Louis, Missouri?

      They stop brewing beer in Wisconsin?

      You too hoity-toity to get a 12-pack of the Blue Beast?

      Miller Lite?

      And, what the hell is wrong with the Champagne of Beers?!?!


      • I always buy local brew when I can, but I’m forced to choose the beers that are in my wheelhouse from the ones that are on tap because I won’t touch beer in a can and most places are moving away from bottled beer. My selection at home is a variety of bottled local beers.

        • That sounds very complicated.

          Well, I have to appear in Eau Claire tomorrow-and I’m all out of Spotted Cow.

          May have to do a quick frolic and detour before returning to The State that Mondale Won, where Spotted Cow is unavailable.


            • It is decent.

              But it is not as if the Twin Cities is devoid of options.

              With Grain Belt, Summit, and Surly, you should be able to find something to fit your tastes.

              And, that does not even scratch the surface of all of the microbreweries that keep popping up.


              • Basic beer rules:

                1) There is a beer-wine line in Europe – generally north of the line has excellent beer…meh wine; generally south of the line has excellent wine…meh beer. There is no beer-wine line in the United States – because we do everything better. That isn’t to say European products are bad. I expect comments in disagreement to these points, but I won’t read them.

                2) Beer with a happy monk on the label has a 99% chance of being excellent.

                3) Beer with a horse on the label has a 99% chance of being made of horse urine.

                4) Of the two broad categories (which contain dozens of subcategories) Ales are generally better than Lagers.

                5) For me – and I’m probably crazy here because no one else seems to notice – beer in a can tastes metallic. Blecch. Beer from a bottle is much better – beer from draft is even better than that (and yes I know it typically comes in an aluminum keg – I don’t get it).

                • Other Bill,

                  Don’t get me wrong-Wisconsin is all kinds of crazy.

                  I practice in both jurisdictions and they are exactly the same, except everything innWisconsin is just a little bit different—just enough to drive you nuts.

                  For what it is worth, though, from my experience, the ethics rules for lawyers is identical (at least from what I have reviewed).

                  But, in matters of beer, cheese and sausage, there is little room to debate relative merits.



            • We went to Wisconsin in February for a relative’s funeral (Janesville), and the ladies in the office where my wife works wanted two things: Spotted Cow and (I think) Two Naked Ladies beer…does that sound right? So we picked up some of each and trucked it home with us. They loved it.

          • If you like Stouts, New Glarus had a Chocolate Stout that was absolutely fabulous! If you cross the state line very often, keep an eye out for some of the more unique ones. New Glarus does a great job.

  2. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought Ann really missed the point here. Is Ann also in that tone-deaf bubble that thinks everyone is completely okay with the trans phenomenon, that it is only a small group of haters at the fringe that are opposed?

    • I’d be willing to bet that 99% of the people refusing to purchase the product because of Dylan Mulvaney have reasons wholly unrelated to traditional marketing tactics. It’s not that “a fresh ‘attractive’ face of Dylan” is off putting to drinkers or that a “feminizing” face is put on the beer that puts off “manly men”. It’s that, at this turning point in culture, *ALOT MORE* people than the average extremist culture-destroyer on the left realize genuinely oppose the idea that men can be women and women can men on a whim.

      And it’s not that those people also fundamentally believe “hey, we can live with these eccentrics as long we all avoid bothering each other”.

      No, there’s a large component of society that fundamentally believes (and I think rightly so), that the more we entertain and *promote* these mental illnesses and celebrate and encourage their normalization – we’re on a straight road to a civilization in a complete mental and foundational quagmire. No…they aren’t refusing to support the beer because of any traditional marketing reasons.

      They just don’t want to play the “here’s the new reality – never mind actual reality” game anymore.

      The military is facing a very similar problem. Entire segments of the population which the military relied upon as a guaranteed source of recruits since 1776 are enlisting at increasingly catastrophic lows. Generations of traditional military families are actively telling their children not to enlist.

      And virtually every single time they’re asked why – the answer revolves around woke crap. Why on earth would they have their kid join an organization that increasingly forces conformity with a worldview that not only bucks reality, but forces their kids to surrender values they spent a lifetime teaching their kids? Also, why on earth would they encourage their children to join an organization that even while it is being forced to join the fantastical Left-wing worldview will end up being employed in decades-longs adventures only to betrayed by some president at some point and have its reputation smeared and reviled by the general populace.

  3. I’ve completely stopped following Althouse in the last year or so, because something has changed over the last couple of years. I don’t think it’s me that’s changed but I just don’t find much of what she writes now interesting. I’ve always hated the comments section because the format SUCKS, you can’t have any kind of real conversation, it’s absolutely terrible.

  4. I’m tired of corporate wokeness and fake “equity.” When it raises its ugly head I now revolt and move on from that company. Bud is officially of my purchase list.

  5. What a different world we might live in if marketing had chosen actress Nicole Maines or professional wrestler Nyla Rose. These are people who have actual credentials and incidentally, are actual transgender women. I’m not sure what Dylan is beyond an obvious dude in dresses and makeup with fame derived from being internet famous.

    If yesterday I made 2 commercials for Bud Light where the cast of Supergirl including Nicole Maines drank beer after a successful day of being superheroes (which they have done plenty of times on the show) we would have never heard a word about it and it would have been inclusive.

    If I made another commercial with pro-wrestlers that included Nyla Rose, no one would have said a word…and I’m sure the Bud Light demographic enjoys a bit of pro-wrestling.

    But no. The choice was made to do a solo commercial shoot with an activist for the sake of inclusivity rather than to include people who are famous in their own right for the work they’ve accomplished.

    Budweiser is ridiculous and their marketer is simply trying to check boxes in the laziest way possible.

    • There are two groups. 1) Adults who happen to be fully transitioned and are living their lives, succeeding in the areas of their expertise. 2) Activists who are marketing gender confusion, transition surgery, and chemical castration as a potential solution to all your problems. If it’s not right for you, maybe it’s right for one or more of your kids and then you can be internet famous too.

      Dylan falls into that 2nd category. In using Dylan as a spokesperson for mutually beneficial advertising, Bud Light threw their weight behind someone who is a promoter of living a pseudo trans-lifestyle for cheap fame. That’s no different than Lia Thomas dealing competitive destruction for easy wins where the competitors lack the same advantages. What they should have promoted was Nyla Rose. A giant of a woman who honorably eats competitive losses from girls a fraction of her size because it’s scripted.

  6. Is it possible that Althouse is oblivious to the trans agenda? Does she not understand why people are upset with trans activism, like fully intact men participating in women’s sports and locker rooms?
    Even smart people are woke and part of the mass psychosis.
    I wonder if Althouse is cool-woke with what is happening in public schools.
    This troubling video testimony is but the tip of the iceberg.

  7. I wonder if anyone completely and absolutely confused by the conservative backlash against Dylan Mulvaney being a spokesman for Bud Light are at all even remotely introspective at their own cultural erasure of Uncle Ben, Aunt Jemima and the Land-o-Lakes Native Girl?

    Which by the way – actually were completely bonkers protests.

  8. Bud Light reminds me more than most of Monty Python’s gag about making love in a canoe, and I confess I couldn’t care less how they advertise a product I’d never buy to begin with.
    But “You don’t use alluring photos of Eva Braun to advertise matzo balls” has got to be one of your best lines ever,

  9. I think we underestimate Ann’s weirdness at our peril.

    Her commentary on this is essentially very weird, “Republicans pounce.”

    I have to say I get a huge kick out of the Wharton brand VP dissing fratty guys. Who does she think drinks Bud? Enlightened guys? Mind boggling, really.

  10. Query for the commentariat: Why is Hunter Biden in Ireland with Joe Biden? Hunter gets to fly on Air Force One? With the Big Guy? Is there grift on offer in Ireland these days? Anyone? I’m flabbergasted.

  11. Based on my experience with drinking establishments frequented by working stiffs, I can easily imagine the crowd reaction when one of my fellow elbow-benders bellied up to the bar and ordered a Bud Lite today. The comments would go on for hours…. And probably resume as we punched in for another day of fun at the factory…..

    Its always good to seek out ways to increase your market share, but is should be done without alienating your current clientele.

  12. Has anyone seen those videos of this Dylan Mulvaney prancing around in an exaggerated manner all with that incessant hideous smile? Does he think actual women do this sort of thing? What he’s emblematic of is an effeminate gay guy usually referred to as a twink.
    Regarding the wholesale rejection of Bud Light in bars, restaurants and liquor stores around the country, there’s a gay bar in Greenwich Village where they also resoundingly rejected Bud Light.
    Then there’s that guy advertising for Tampons that has everyone asking where does he put them? But that’s another story.

  13. “Who drinks light beer anyway?”

    Women, Ann. Lots and lots of women. Half of Bud Light sales are (or more accurately, used to be) to women.

    What sort of woman drinks Bud Light? Probably the kind of gal who doesn’t find Mulvaney’s grotesque exaggeration of cartoon femininity very cute. Probably the sort of woman who knows the definition of the word itself and finds it offensive to be reduced to merely a “birthing person” to appease a miniscule population of loud, aggressive mentally-ill men. She might even be one of those ladies who feels like a gay man prancing around in a dress is making a mockery of the complexities of womanhood.

    That’s who drinks light beer. And they can switch brands quicker than a TikTok user can switch genders. Bud Light did serious and lasting harm to its brand with this move, and if Althouse can’t understand why, she’s not as smart as she wants everyone to think she is.

    • Jeff,
      Ann is an intelligent woman but is clearly afflicted with the woke-disease that some perceive as a cultish religion.
      One of the most obvious and striking symptoms is how this disease/religion significantly undermines common sense which then renders an otherwise well-functioning individual appear to be somewhat insane. There is anecdotal evidence that a medically supervised intervention can be helpful.

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