Boycott against Bud Light hurt sales. Experts explain why.

Bud Light critics burned empty beer crates and shot cans as part of the backlash against the brand that erupted early last month. Since then, the anger has increased.

Bud Light sales have been in decline for six straight weeks after a product endorsement from Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender influencer, angered many conservatives.

Consumer boycotts usually fade, but this boycott has expanded for a host of reasons: heated political debate over a product with many alternatives, outcry from political figures and celebrities, and amplification on social media, experts told ABC News.

The boycott grew larger, meanwhile, the experts added, after some LGBTQ advocates deemed the initial response from the company conciliatory, prompting a wave of frustration on the left.

“In general, interruptions are called in and they have very little effect,” says Gerald Davis, professor of organizational behavior at the University of Michigan Graduate School of Business. Right now, everyone is crazy.

Bud Light sales were down nearly 25% during the week ended May 13 compared to the same period a year ago, according to data from Bump Williams Consulting and Nielsen NIQ obtained by ABC News.

The latest decline showed a deepening in losses after a drop of about 23% in the prior week compared to a year ago and a drop of nearly 7% year-over-year for the week ended April 9, shortly after the boycott began, the data showed.

Meanwhile, sales of competing beers soared. Coors Light sales jumped nearly 23% during the week ended May 13 compared to a year ago; The data showed Miller Lite sales rose 21% during that period.

“In the world of beer, there are thousands of other options readily available at similar prices,” Anson Frakes, former CEO of Anheuser-Busch, told ABC News. “Every grocery store and bar usually has other options.”

In all, the stock price of Anheuser-Busch InBev, maker of the Bud Light, has fallen about 11% since Mulvaney posted a short endorsement video on Instagram that sparked a backlash.

Anheuser-Busch InBev declined to respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

In response to the initial boycott, Anheuser-Busch InBev posted a statement from CEO Brendan Whitworth on its website.

“We never intended to be part of a discussion that would divide people,” Whitworth said. “We’re in the business of getting people together for a beer.”

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that the company had put two executives who oversaw the validation of Mulvaney’s Instagram post on vacation.

The response drew sharp criticism from some LGBTQ advocates who viewed it as a surrender to the backlash. The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization, has suspended its Corporate Equality Index score, USA Today reported Thursday. Previously, the company scored 100 points, which is the highest rating.

“More and more people on the left are upset that the company isn’t upholding these progressive values ​​in a more vocal way,” Frikes said.

Experts said the scale and length of the backlash also underscore the intensity of anti-trans sentiment among conservatives.

As of last week, more than 520 anti-LGBTQ bills had been introduced in state legislatures, including more than 220 bills specifically targeting transgender and non-binary people, the Human Rights Campaign found.

Far-right parliamentarian. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republic-ga. Last month, she re-posted a video to her 700,000 followers harshly criticizing Bud Lite. Celebrities like Kid Rock and Ted Nugent have previously expressed similar messages.

“This anti-wake agenda and the idea of ​​trans rights at scale has become a wedge issue,” Maurice Schweitzer, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business who studies consumer movements, told ABC News. It has gained and attracted a great deal of attention.

Anheuser-Busch InBev is in a tough spot because it faces frustrations on both sides of the political spectrum, said Davis of the University of Michigan.

“A dynamic has been set in motion that will be very difficult for the company to navigate,” said Davis. “What position can they take now that would cause one side or the other to say, ‘Okay’?”

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