Bud Light ‘lost trust’ with consumers, won’t turn around without apology, former Anheuser-Busch exec says

Bud Light’s Super Bowl commercial does not restore authenticity

While the Bud Light "genie" offered to grant any wish during the beer maker’s Super Bowl commercial, one former Anheuser-Busch executive cautioned the high-dollar advertising attempt didn’t win back customers.

"They haven't done a good job of climbing out of this ditch at all. You still have sales that are down 30% week over week, and that's despite them last summer spending three times their planned marketing budget on Bud Light," Anson Frericks said on "Cavuto: Coast to Coast," Monday.

"The biggest problem is that they've lost trust with their customers and they still haven't gone out and personally asked for their customers to come back to them," he continued. "And until they restore that trust, I don't think this brand is going to turn around and get back to growth anytime soon."

Bud Light’s primetime ad for the big game Sunday shined a spotlight on the Bud Light genie, who can make you filthy rich or create an epic night with your favorite celebrities. While Frericks argued the ad was "pretty decent," it lacked tones of empathy.

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"There's two things to get trust: one, you have to have empathy for your consumer, know who your consumer is. And still, I think a lot of consumers out there are asking for Bud Light to apologize when they called their consumers fratty and out-of-touch last year," the former exec explained.

Frericks Anson on Bud Light commercial

While Bud Lights Super Bowl commercial was "pretty decent," former Anheuser-Busch executive Anson Frericks argued it doesnt win back consumer trust or authenticity on "Cavuto: Coast to Coast." (Getty Images)

"Secondarily, you build trust with authenticity," Frericks added. "Bud Light was loved because it was a brand that was apolitical, was drawn by Democrats or Republicans alike… it was that Super Bowl commercial, but they lost that authenticity."

For this year’s Super Bowl broadcast, advertising companies reportedly paid $7 million for 30 seconds of commercial time. It's about the same price as last year's commercials, but over 50% more than it cost in 2019.

Those millions only cover the airtime, and companies usually end up on the hook for much more with celebrity endorsements and high-budget vignettes for their products.

Anheuser-Busch InBev was noted as one company spending big on ads in an effort to rekindle Americans' affinity for Bud Light, which faced controversy last year for its endorsement of transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

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January data indicated that Bud Light’s brand is still having trouble luring back customers, as sales were down 29.9% year-over-year for the week ending Jan. 20, compared with the same period last year, according to the latest numbers provided to FOX Business by Bump Williams Consulting, which analyzed NielsenIQ data. 

"I think what they've realized is that if you're going to spend $7 million on a Super Bowl ad, you don't want to lose that hundreds of millions of dollars by alienating half of your customer base. So I'm optimistic that you're starting to see companies swing the pendulum back, trying just to be great at delivering great products and services," Frericks noted. "That’s what creates shareholder value."

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FOX Business’ Timothy Nerozzi and Breck Dumas contributed to this report.

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