By Tom Ozimek
The senior Budweiser advertising executive behind the controversial Bud Light transgender campaign has reportedly taken a leave of absence and another executive has taken over her functions.
Alissa Heinerscheid, who has been vice president of marketing for Bud Light for nearly a year, has taken a leave of absence, according to Beer Business Daily.
Heinerscheid, who oversaw Bud Light’s controversial partnership with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney, is being replaced by Budweiser vice president of global marketing Todd Allen, according to AdAge.
The Epoch Times has reached out to Anheuser-Busch with a request for comment on Heinersheid’s leave and whether her departure will be permanent but did not receive a reply by publication.
The development comes amid fallout from Bud Light’s partnership with Mulvaney, a male who identifies as a female and who rose to fame for chronicling a transition Mulvaney has dubbed “365 Days of Girlhood.”
Capping this transition was a marketing campaign involving Mulvaney’s face on custom-made cans of Bud Light.
Mulvaney, who has over 10 million followers on TikTok, posted a series of videos advertising Bud Light and showing off the personalized can, sparking outrage among conservatives, some of whom accused the brand of promoting the transgender agenda and called for a boycott.
Singer Kid Rock used Bud Light cans as target practice to express his anger at the promotional campaign, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he would be boycotting Bud Light.
The boycott appears to be having an impact, with analysts saying that sales of the beer declined in the first week of the conservative-led boycott.
Heinerscheid was hired in June 2022 and tasked with revamping Bud Light’s brand image.
A day before Mulvaney announced the partnership with Bud Light, Heinerscheid said in an interview on the “Make Yourself At Home” podcast that she was looking to transform the brand from “fratty” and “out of touch” to more inclusive.
“I’m a businesswoman, I had a really clear job to do when I took over Bud Light, and it was ‘This brand is in decline, it’s been in a decline for a really long time, and if we do not attract young drinkers to come and drink this brand there will be no future for Bud Light,’” she said.
Heinerscheid added that she believed that for the brand to evolve, it must incorporate “inclusivity” and that means “having a campaign that’s truly inclusive, and feels lighter and brighter and different.”
“We had this hangover, I mean Bud Light had been kind of a brand of fratty, kind of out-of-touch humor, and it was really important that we had another approach,” she added.
Following the rollout of the campaign involving Mulvaney, Anheuser-Busch saw its market value plunge over $5 billion.
‘Discussion That Divides People’
Amid the backlash, a spokesperson for Anheuser-Busch defended the partnership with Mulvaney in a statement to Fox News.
“Anheuser Busch works with hundreds of influencers across our brands as one of many ways to authentically connect with audiences across various demographics and passion points,” a spokesperson for the company told the outlet.
“From time to time, we produce unique commemorative cans for fans and for brand influencers, like Dylan Mulvaney. This commemorative can was a gift to celebrate a personal milestone and is not for sale to the general public.”
Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth issued a statement on April 14 that addressed the controversy.
Whitworth said the company “never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people” but stopped short of explicitly mentioning Mulvaney or the campaign.
“We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer,” Whitworth said, adding that he’s responsible for “ensuring every consumer feels proud of the beer we brew.”
Anheuser-Busch later released a patriotic ad on social media that featured American flags and iconic landmarks.
The ad was met with a critical response by many online users, some of whom framed it as a hypocritical attempt to win back conservatives outraged by the Mulvaney partnership.