Bud Light was forced to wave the white flag of defeat in this fight with Ted Cruz

Feb 16, 2024

There was more than meets the eye with Bud Light going woke.

The brand crossed a bright red line in the beer industry.

And Bud Light was forced to wave the white flag of defeat in this fight with Ted Cruz.

Bud Light faced a massive backlash after it partnered with transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

According to Ted Cruz (R-TX), there was more to the Mulvaney partnership than jumping on the bandwagon of the latest woke trend.

Mulvaney has a massive following on social media that includes more than 10 million followers on TikTok.

TikTok is the most popular social media among younger Americans, and Mulvaney’s audience is mostly made up of people under the legal drinking age.

Beer companies are prohibited from advertising to underage drinkers through industry-imposed rules, but Cruz suspected that Bud Light partnering with Mulvaney was a way to skirt these restrictions.

Ted Cruz and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) contacted the Beer Institute’s Code Compliant Review Board (CCRB) – the group set by beer companies to regulate the industry – in May of 2023 to investigate Bud Light for using Mulvaney to advertise to underage drinkers.

The Republican Senators accused Bud Light of partnering with Mulvaney in order to “attract young drinkers” to the light beer brand.

They cited a social media post where Mulvaney dressed up as a six-year-old character from a children’s book.

Social media platforms like Instagram have policies that prevent people under the age of 21 from viewing content promoting alcohol.

But these policies weren’t enforced with Mulvaney’s Bud Light partnership.

The CCRB, which is headed by Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth, investigated the Senators’ request and found that Bud Light engaged in no wrongdoing with the Mulvaney partnership in July of 2023.

But the CCRB quietly changed the rules for beer companies to partner with social media influencers after the pressure applied by Cruz and Blackburn.

Beer Industry changes rules to prevent Dylan Mulvaney from promoting Bud Light again

Two months after the CCRB cleared Bud Light with the Mulvaney partnership, the rules governing beer advertising were changed for social media influencers.

The Advertising and Marketing Code that beer companies are required to follow quietly inserted new language covering social media influencers that would stop beer companies from partnering with Mulvaney.

Social media influencers weren’t governed by the typical rules for beer advertising that prohibit an ad if the audience is too heavily skewed toward people under the legal drinking age.

Bud Light argued during its investigation by the CCRB that it wasn’t responsible for knowing the make-up of a social media influencer’s audience because they “develop their own content and post it on their own page.”

The new rule governing social media influencers states that beer companies need to audit the audience of that influencer twice a year.

Social media ads are now held to the same standard as other beer ads and must have an audience that’s comprised of at least 73.8% of people over the age of 21.

Mulvaney would fail that standard based on independent audits of his social media followers.

Bud Light’s woke debacle forced the beer industry to revamp its advertising standards and put an end to Dylan Mulvaney’s career of promoting beer on social media.

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