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National Review
National Review
22 Apr 2023
Jeff Zymeri

NextImg:Anheuser-Busch Announces Staffing Shake-Up after Dylan Mulvaney Controversy

Bud Light marketing VP Alissa Heinerscheid, who said the brand was “fratty” and “out of touch” and devised the much-criticized Dylan Mulvaney partnership, is taking a leave of absence.

Heinerscheid, who has led the brand since June, will be replaced by Budweiser global marketing VP Todd Allen, according to Ad Age. The move comes as Bud Light and Anheuser-Busch have faced intense backlash for their partnership with the trans influencer and activist, famous for her “365 Days of Girlhood” video series, which chronicled the first year of her transition. Anheuser-Busch has faced cascading problems, including cancelled events with the iconic Budweiser Clydesdale horses, a stock price that dipped, and many prominent Americans voicing their opposition, including Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R., Texas), Kid Rock, and Travis Tritt.

“If we do not attract young drinkers to come and drink this brand, there will be no future for Bud Light,” the beer’s VP of marketing explained last month. “What I brought to that was a belief in, okay, what does ‘evolve and elevate’ mean? It means inclusivity. It means shifting the tone. It means having a campaign that’s truly inclusive and feels lighter and brighter and different and appeals to women and to men.”

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But Heinerscheid’s immediate future at Bud Light has now been cut short. The executive became the first woman to lead Bud Light in the brand’s 40-year history and was recognized as one of AdAge‘s 40 under 40. Heinerscheid was promoted to the job after a nearly eight-year tenure at Anheuser-Busch InBev in various marketing roles, including a recent stint as VP of direct-to-consumer marketing, which includes e-commerce. She created the role, proposing it to a top Anheuser-Busch executive via 30-page pitch. It came after nearly four years of working on Bud Light, including overseeing the 2019 Game of Thrones Super Bowl ad collaboration.

“Today, we communicated some next steps with our internal teams and wholesaler partners,” explained an Anheuser-Busch spokesperson. “First, we made it clear that the safety and welfare of our employees and our partners is our top priority. Second, Todd Allen is appointed Vice President of Bud Light reporting directly to Benoit Garbe, U.S. Chief Marketing Officer. Third, we have made some adjustments to streamline the structure of our marketing function to reduce layers so that our most senior marketers are more closely connected to every aspect of our brands activities. These steps will help us maintain focus on the things we do best: brewing great beer for all consumers, while always making a positive impact in our communities and on our country.”

The Daily Wire reported that senior executives were in the dark about the decision to green-light the Mulvaney partnership.

It’s unclear if Heinerscheid’s current replacement will be made permanent or what her future at Anheuser-Busch is. National Review reached out to company for additional comment, but has not received comment by press time.

Mulvaney, who has been invited to the White House and has attracted a number of lucrative business partnerships with brands like Nike and Bud Light, also responded to the controversy, appearing this week on an episode of “iHeartPodcasts’s Onward With Rosie O’ Donnell.

“The reason I think I’m an easy target is because I’m still new to this. I think going after a trans woman who has been doing this for 20 years is a lot more difficult,” Mulvaney said.

However, the company backtracked to a degree in a statement last week.

“We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people. We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer,” wrote CEO Brendan Whitworth.