Budweiser is facing mockery for ostensibly trying to revitalize its ailing brand by teaming up with Harley-Davidson for some macho showmanship.
This week, both brands released a joint advertisement featuring Budweiser cans emblazoned with Harley-Davidson’s logo.
“The greatest legacies are built with grit and resilience, one detail at a time. Limited edition Budweiser Harley-Davidson cans — for those who give everything to their craft. This Bud’s for you,” a narrator said in the ad as a mechanic performed some work on a motorcycle.
Budweiser just came out with a new advertisement with Harley Davidson.
Anheuser-Busch wants you to know that they’re SUPER MANLY now.
Desperation mode. pic.twitter.com/fco8TCvv1Y
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) May 26, 2023
Upon the ad’s release, critics immediately accused Budweiser of trying to make up for its recent widely panned partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
“Budweiser trying to recover and teams up with Harley Davidson in new advertising to attract ‘manly’ men. This Bud is a dud,” one critic tweeted.
See more criticism below:
They need to publicly apologize and I’m not even sure that will work
— Kenny Carter (@krays658) May 26, 2023
It’s too late, period… but I can’t believe Harley would be near this type of ad right now. I’m shocked.
— Brenlin01 (@Brenlin01) May 26, 2023
They just don’t get it. You can NOT get a pissed off customer back whole. You might get them to stop talking bad about it, but they won’t buy it. It has a stigma attached now, and for 15 bucks, nobody is risking that one…
— JAHillenburg (@jahillenburg) May 26, 2023
Ahhhhahahahahahahahahahahaha! You think that’s going to fix the trans movement you pushed? Not a chance! Buds products are gay pushed beers now! Bikers won’t be caught dead holding a bud or Budweiser these days ❤️
— Kacie Aderhold (@AderholdKacie) May 27, 2023
Bud Light sponsors Cincinnati Pride Parade after Dylan Mulvaney controversy.
Bud will forever be known as gender fluid.
No dude in any bar is ever going to be caught dead drinking that stuff. pic.twitter.com/sAvzpdmu0i
— KevSanders (@KevSanderz) May 26, 2023
The problem for Budweiser is that after backlash erupted over its partnership with Mulvaney, Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth refused to apologize. FYI, Anheuser-Busch is the parent company of Budweiser/Bud Light.
Instead, Whitworth issued a press release in which he touted the brand’s responsibility “for ensuring every consumer feels proud of the beer we brew” and wrote that the company had “never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people.”
“My time serving this country taught me the importance of accountability and the values upon which America was founded: freedom, hard work and respect for one another. As CEO of Anheuser-Busch, I am focused on building and protecting our remarkable history and heritage,” he wrote.
“I care deeply about this country, this company, our brands and our partners. I spend much of my time traveling across America, listening to and learning from our customers, distributors and others. Moving forward, I will continue to work tirelessly to bring great beers to consumers across our nation,” he added.
Did you notice an apology anywhere there? Exactly …
Conservatives have signaled that they intend to keep boycotting Budweiser — and, more specifically, Bud Light — until the company apologizes and essentially condemns its partnership with Mulvaney.
This is your brand now, own it until you apologize. pic.twitter.com/d5B8SFzFFt
— Captain Ron (@CaptRonFulmer) April 20, 2023
The media, for their part, don’t appear to believe Harley-Davidson’s own partnership with Budweiser is going to cost it any customers.
“Harley-Davidson has so far continued to build on its social media following, even if by relatively modest margins,” Newsweek reported Thursday.
“Over the past 30 days—up to and including May 25—the brand’s Instagram followers have gone up by 1,920 to hold its 5.5 million audience count steady, per SocialBlade. Meanwhile, 212 extra users followed the company’s Twitter account, adding to its tally of more than 489,000,” according to the outlet.
Do keep in mind though that Harley-Davidson has abstained from posting its Budweiser ad on its own social media accounts. Whereas Budweiser has been promoting the partnership nonstop:
View this post on Instagram
The great irony of all this is that it appears the joint partnership was probably planned out long before the Mulvaney crisis erupted.
The evidence lies in the fact that, according to Newsweek, the partnership was designed “to commemorate the bike company’s 120th anniversary.” And so it’s perfectly possible they’ve been working on this for months.
All this said, some have argued that this partnership is a net negative for Harley-Davidson because while it doesn’t make Budweiser look any better, it does make itself look worse.
“This doesn’t make Budweiser manlier. It makes Harley Davidson gayer,” popular conservative commentator Tim Pool bluntly explained earlier this week on his weekday podcast, Timcast IRL.
— DailyBreakfast__ (@DailyBreakfast3) May 27, 2023
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