In a desperate attempt to slow its slide into oblivion, Anheuser-Busch distributed tens of millions of dollars to distributors like so much Halloween candy. These “incentive payments,” according to a new report, are to keep Bud Light on store shelves as consumers flee to other brands.
Beer Marketer’s Insights reported Anheuser-Busch spent as much as $150 million to provide relief to distributors stuck with their products. The company earmarked the funds for “market share recovery incentives.”
The company frantically attempted to keep its space on store shelves after the Dylan Mulvaney fiasco.
Drinkers abandoned the brand in droves after a woke marketing effort spotlighted the controversial transgender activist. Millions perceived the move as slighting Bud Light drinkers to go for a new “woke” audience, and the backlash was swift.
Billions were lost along with jobs held by misguided marketers as boycotts spread across the nation.
— New York Post (@nypost) October 19, 2023
This dive meant that major retailers such as Walmart and large convenience store chains would replace the struggling brand with its competitors.
According to the New York Post, the company tried to head off having its products replaced on shelves by better selling brands.
In the spring, distributors generally determine which products produced over the last 12 months and reserve space accordingly.
Now distributors are being lured to keep Bud Light prominently on shelves through reimbursements for particular freight and fuel surcharges. The trade publication further noted that they are being given five extra days to pay their accounts with the brewery.
Anheuser-Busch is also extending a financial aid program initiated in June. These sales incentive payments have been extended through next spring to attempt to keep sales and shelving afloat.
In still another attempt to reclaim lost sales, the world’s largest brewer announced a “market share recovery program” that will extend through the end of next year.
Industry experts report that Bud Light lost over 20% of its customers since the controversy began in April. In its place came several of its competitors, many of which reported expanding sales in the past six months.
Most noted receiving more shelf space in national retailers than previously afforded their brands. Bud Light has never apologized for the misstep and still has lightyears to go to regain its former prominence.