‘No future’ for Bud Light without ads with stars like trans TikToker Dylan Mulvaney, VP says

A split imiage of the beer can that Dylan Mulvaney received and her Instagram video.

Days before trolls called for a boycott of Bud Light for its partnership with trans actress Dylan Mulvaney, its marketing vice-president said the brand needed to be more inclusive and ditch its “fratty” reputation – or go out of business.

Alissa Heinerscheid, VP of marketing, expressed her disdain at Bud Light’s “fratty reputation” in an episode of the Make Yourself at Home podcast, which was published on YouTube on 30 March.

The podcast, presented by household management app Nines, talks to people at the top of their career, to discuss how work and home are intertwined, in the hope of inspiring viewers to “live well”. 

In it, Heinerscheid touched on evolving and elevating Bud Light, which she said had been “in decline for a really long time”. 

She was set the task of attracting young drinkers or facing the reality that “there would be no future for Bud Light”. 

She said: “I brought to that a belief in what evolve and elevate means.

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“It means inclusivity, shifting the tone, it means having a campaign that’s truly inclusive and feels lighter and brighter and different, and appeals to women and men.

‘Representation is the heart of evolution’

She added: “Representation is the heart of evolution, you’ve got to see people [who] reflect you.”

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Heinerscheid said Bud Light has a reputation as “a brand of fratty, kind of out-of-touch humour – and it was really important we had another approach”. 

The brand’s Super Bowl advert saw Heinerscheid cast an “incredible female choreographer” and Top Gun: Maverick star Miles Teller, and his wife Keleigh, whom she said was the “heartbeat of the spot”. 

Heinerscheid is the first woman to lead Bud Light in the brand’s 40-year history, which she said has been humbling. 

“It’s sometimes helpful to recognise that this is the spot. This is where I think I had dreamed of being, in some kind of position like this. It’s an interesting dynamic as a woman in a very male-dominated industry like beer, it’s been a long road.

“It’s been tense and hard but it’s also brought a lot of clarity and perspective about who I want to be and how I want to operate in the world. 

“I have to prioritise bringing other people along the way. Community and women, it doesn’t mean anything unless I am positively impacting other people so that’s been incredibly important to me.”

Committed to female representation

Heinerscheid said she tries to “bet on people who haven’t had the opportunity” and who share her values. “Female representation in this role is something I’ve been really committed to.” 

Heinerscheid is a cancer survivor and has three children through surrogacy. 

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The brand’s desire to be more inclusive has seen a backlash from right-wingers who called for a boycott against Bud Light because they gave Mulvaney a can of beer with her face on it. 

Mulvaney posted an Instagram video on 1 April,  in partnership with BudLight, in which she said: “This month I celebrated my day 365 of womanhood and Bud Light sent me possibly the best gift ever: a can with my face on it.”

Alissa Heinerscheid spoke about making Bud Light more inclusive on the Make Yourself at Home podcast. (YouTube/Make Yourself at Home)
Alissa Heinerscheid spoke about making Bud Light more inclusive on the Make Yourself at Home podcast. (YouTube/Make Yourself at Home)

Despite nasty comments from bigots, Bud Light has been supporting  pro-LGBTQ+ causes for decades.

In 2019, the brand unveiled limited-edition rainbow bottles across the US as part of a World Pride celebration, vowing to donate $1 to LGBTQ+ charity GLAAD for each case sold, up to $150,000 (about £117,000 then).

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