It’s been a rocky year for Anheuser-Busch InBev-owned Bud Light following the company’s partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, which led to calls for a boycott and a subsequent decline in sales.
“So, do I want to hold their head underwater and drown them because they made a mistake? No, I think they got the message,” Rock said in the interview.
Image Credit: Jeff Bottari | Getty Images
Bud Light saw sales fall as much as 42 percent in some U.S. metro areas in the four weeks that ended on July 22, according to Nielsen IQ data analyzed by the consulting firm Bump Williams, per The New York Times.
But for all his talk of boycotting the brand, Rock’s actions appeared to tell a different story. When CNN visited a bar in Nashville owned by the musician over the summer, Bud Light was being served, and in August, Rock was spotted drinking the beverage in pictures obtained by TMZ.
“Hopefully, other companies get it too, but you know, at the end of the day, I don’t think the punishment that they’ve been getting at this point fits the crime,” Rock told Carlson. “I would like to see people get us back on board and become bigger because that’s the America that I want to live in.”
Bud Light attempted to combat slumping sales with discounts and advertising tied to football and music, and Anheuser-Busch announced that its U.S. chief marketing officer, Benoit Garbe, will resign at the year’s end to streamline operations.
During its latest earnings call, Anheuser-Busch acknowledged a nearly 17% decline in sales to U.S. retailers, largely attributed to the plummeting volume of Bud Light. But in an October analyst call, the company also revealed that 40% of former customers are willing to give the beer another chance.
“This gives us some certainty that we are moving in the right direction,” AB InBev CEO Michel Doukeris said on the call. “We have a good grip on what we need to do and how we are proceeding from here.”