Everyone has seen the reports on the backlash from InBev's (BUD) hiring of a female impersonator to represent their Bud Light brand. You've seen his videos and you're heard about the controversy. But who's to blame?
Alissa Heinerscheid is the chief marketing officer in charge of Bud Light. Below is her ninety-second rationale for taking the brand astray.
Here's why franchisees should worry - corporate marketing departments are full of Alissas. Very few of these corporate people will think that she, or her division, did anything wrong.
And, the advertising agencies and marketing advisors are staffed almost entirely with Alissas.
They are everywhere in corporate America. Except in the beer aisle buying Bud Light.
How did this Bud Light campaign slip through the filters and make it to the general consumer? Obviously, everyone at InBev was afraid to object out of fear of being called "Transphobic".
Going a little deeper, please watch the first five minutes of this commentary from podcaster Trish Regan. She blames the mess on Alissa's alma mater - Harvard.
Trish is considered too outspoken for regular TV
This thing could be a total scam. This guy could just be doing performance art. The feminine attire? Just a costume.
He appears to be earning some serious money with endorsements.
When the money runs out he can always revert to his normal self, grow a beard, put on 40 pounds, and make another round of public appearances as a man, admitting he scammed the world.
That would be better than trying to find a job as a woman when everyone knows differently.
Marketing "kids" in every segment appear to be brainwashed. I've seen it of course on TV and within our system but also up close and personal when dealing with a local, relatively small mobile phone carrier. Without going into details their marketing material had absolutely no resemblance to their market demographics, in fact it represented perhaps 1% of the population out here.
When I say that they're brainwashed I believe that they are taught that they've got to represent the marginalized, the disadvantaged, the groups that have always been underrepresented in the marketplace regardless of their target market.
It really does blow my mind that these people don't even consider matching their advertising to the demographic of whoever they're selling to and they're losing consumers who see this and are bombarded daily. I can think of three major brands right now who have lost me because they clearly are not interested in selling to me anymore, they're targeting single digit percentages and not even thinking about putting a facsimile of ME in their ads since I'm the one who's buying their stuff.
I don't know how to reverse it and I don't know if the kids in marketing should be blamed either- they're doing as they're taught but it's not good for business.
It seems to all come back to "wokeness". If someone has a plan or an idea that targets a tiny fraction of the population there might be no one to speak out and discuss the real world out of fear of being called names.
Events such as this Bud Light fiasco might go a long way toward encouraging honest discussions among marketing folks. When sales suffer and a marketing theme is obviously not working someone has to have the fortitude to talk the truth.
Also, people who gravitate to the creative and marketing side of the business are most often politically liberal and feel it's their duty to change the world. They'll eagerly use corporate stakeholder money in their attempts to do so.
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