Alissa Heinerscheid, Bud Light’s vice president of marketing, has taken a leave of absence, according to AdAge, weeks after the brand was criticized and boycotted by far-right personalities for its marketing partnership with transgender TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney.
Heinerscheid will be replaced by Todd Allen, who most recently served as Budweiser’s vice president for global marketing, Anheuser-Busch told AdAge.
Anheuser-Busch also revamped its marketing staff so that senior marketing employees are “more closely connected” to the “brand’s activities,” a spokesperson said.
Heinerscheid’s absence comes three weeks after Mulvaney shared a video on social media indicating Bud Light sent her a can with her face on it to celebrate her one-year anniversary of publicly identifying as transgender.
That caused several conservative personalities to criticize the brand, including Kid Rock, who posted a video shooting cans of Bud Light while yelling profanities about the company.
Some Anheuser-Busch facilities have received threats of violence in recent weeks, according to CNN, though the company said it has prioritized the “safety and welfare of our employees and our partners”
Anheuser-Busch did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes.
Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth said in a statement last week the company “never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people,” though he did not directly refer to Mulvaney or the partnership.
Heinerscheid, who has worked for Bud Light since June 2022, said in an interview with the Make Yourself at Home Podcast she intended to “evolve and elevate” Bud Light by “having a campaign that’s truly inclusive” in an effort to attract younger consumers. She also said Bud Light was “in a decline for a really long time” and referred to the company’s previous marketing tactics as “fratty” and “out of touch.” The partnership has sparked false claims about the company firing its entire marketing department. Despite the controversy, conservatives boycotting Bud Light have been mocked online. Noodle, a guitarist for the rock band The Offspring, said he would include Bud Light products in his tour hospitality rider “just to piss off a bunch of dimwitted bigots.”
Mulvaney, a former Broadway actress, has posted videos to her TikTok account detailing her gender transition over the last year. She has since garnered more than 10 million followers, in addition to partnerships with a number of brands and media appearances. Mulvaney, who does not discuss most political topics, visited the White House last year to speak with President Joe Biden about transgender rights. She indirectly responded to the backlash she has received this year—suggesting 2023 is a “hellscape”—and said she responds to hate with “trans joy.” She has been supported by celebrities and brands, including Nike, which wrote in an Instagram comment that Mulvaney is “an essential component to the success of your community.”
Mulvaney’s partnership with Nike has also drawn conservative backlash, with some calling for a boycott of the athletic brand. Sharron Davies, a former Olympic swimmer, called the partnership “a kick in the teeth” while calling for a boycott. Caitlyn Jenner, a transgender woman and former Olympic athlete, said Nike’s partnership with Mulvaney is “an outrage.”
Bud Light’s Marketing Leadership Undergoes Shakeup After Dylan Mulvaney Controversy (AdAge)
How Trans TikTok Star Dylan Mulvaney Became A Far-Right Target After Scoring Deals With Bud Light And Nike (Forbes)
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I cover breaking news for Forbes. Before Forbes, I worked as a reporter for USA Today in Asheville and Black Mountain, North Carolina.
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The chief of marketing at a major retail corporation has stepped down following reports of far-right rumblings among their employees. The company has experienced a tumultuous situation as of late and their chief of marketing was asked to resign due to potential connections with far-right organizations. Her departure was abrupt and unexpected, and the company has officially made the announcement regarding her exit.
This news comes after reports that the company was dealing with an internal problem regarding a member of their staff allegedly having ties to far-right groups. The marketing chief was thought to be connected in some way or form to the said employee and was asked to leave her post. This move was made in an effort to maintain a sense of peace and unity within the company and its staff.
The company’s decision to ask for her resignation follows an extensive review of the situation by the company’s chief executive. Although the employee in question was not the marketing chief, it was decided that given the proximity of her post to said employee, the best course of action would be for her to leave her position immediately.
The marketing chief handled a variety of important tasks during her tenure with the company, which included developing and implementing marketing campaigns, creating content for the company’s social media platforms, and managing the company’s online presence. Her time with the company was very successful and her departure has come as a shock to many.
In an official statement, the company said that “the safety and security of our staff and our customers remain of utmost importance. Consequently, we have taken these measures to ensure that our firm remains a safe and respectful environment for everyone.”
The company also confirmed that they are taking further steps to ensure that their staff are well-aware of their non-discrimination policies and that they have a zero-tolerance policy towards any form of prejudice. They have also made it clear that any sort of behavior in violation of this policy will not be tolerated.
This unfortunate news is being faced by the company at a time when the debate surrounding right-wing extremism is at an all time high. It appears that the company is doing its best to ensure that they maintain a respectful and inclusive workplace and they are standing by their position to disallow any sort of far-right sentiment.