Anheuser-Busch InBev’s top U.S. marketing executive is set to leave the company, months after its Bud Light brand’s controversial partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney sparked a boycott that continues harm sales.
AB announced Wednesday that Benoit Garbe, the brewing giant’s U.S. marketing director, would step down at the end of the year “to begin a new chapter in his career,” and that commercial director Kyle Norrington would take charge of all aspects of marketing. . , including “brand plans and portfolio strategy”.
“This week, we announced key changes to our U.S. leadership team that reduce levels within our organization and enable our key business leaders to drive our business and legacy forward,” said Brendan Whitworth, CEO of Anheuser-Busch, in a statement. “These senior leadership changes will accelerate our return to growth as we continue to focus on what we do best: brewing great beer for everyone and earning our place in the moments that matter.” »
According to Garbe’s bio on AB’s website, he has served as a “strategic advisor” at the company for a decade, and his LinkedIn profile indicates that he took over as head of marketing in September 2021.
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Bud Light’s sales began to plummet in the United States in April, shortly after the brand created and sent personalized beer cans to Mulvaney to mark his “365 Days of Childhood.” That move and comments from Bud Light’s vice president of marketing at the time, Alissa Heinerscheid — who said she wanted to update the “fratty” and “out-of-touch” brand — sparked calls from conservative influencers and celebrities to avoid the brand, and boycott. took hold.
Last month, AB InBev reported a staggering 13.5% drop in third-quarter U.S. revenue as Bud Light sales continued to suffer. However, the company has embarked on a mission to rehabilitate the brand’s image and appears optimistic about winning back its former customers.
During last month’s earnings conference call, CEO Michel Doukeris told investors that an internal survey showed that 40% of Bud Light drinkers who had ditched the brand said they would consider returning.
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Singer-songwriter Kid Rock, who filmed himself shooting Bud Light cases with a semi-automatic rifle shortly after the boycott began, told FOX News’ Sean Hannity this week that he was ready to “let it go” for the sake of good. of workers whose livelihoods are being undermined due to continued backlash against the brand.
“As a conservative, and more importantly, a patriot, I do not want to be the party of cancel cultures and boycotts that end up hurting the dogless working class, especially in this fight,” he said. Rock said. “As a God-fearing man and a Christian, I have to believe in forgiveness. They made a mistake, okay. Do you want to keep their heads underwater, drown them and kill people’s jobs? I don’t want to not do that.”
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Still, he added: “I hope that at the same time – I’m not their biggest, I don’t want to be their biggest cheerleader – it’s like I want them to show me something something to get me back.”
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