A report by the New York Post said San Mateo, California-based Captiv8 was initially panicking when news of the beer brand's partnership with Mulvaney broke out. The firm had enough reason to panic – it introduced Anheuser-Busch to the transgender influencer, part of its specialty of pairing social media influencers with major consumer brands.
According to its website, Captiv8 was "co-founded in 2015 by Krishna Subramanian — a Silicon Valley investor who sold online ad network BlueLithium to Yahoo in 2007 for $300 million." The firm has reportedly worked with big brand such as Walmart, American Express, Twitter and Kraft Heinz.
The Post recounted that when the video of Mulvaney was released on April 1, confusion and anxiety were the dominant emotions in Captiv8's office. A source with knowledge of the situation disclosed that "there was a lot of chatter" among employees about what blowback the ad agency might face over the botched campaign.
"Internally, the company was in serious panic mode," the source said. (Related: PR expert blasts Anheuser-Busch for bewildering response to Mulvaney endorsement backlash.)
It remains unclear whether Captiv8 played a direct role in producing Mulvaney's controversial TikTok video, where he is shown frolicking in a bathtub while drinking a can of Bud Light. Also, it is unknown whether the agency is responsible for the now-infamous beer can design featuring Mulvaney's face. The design was released in line with his celebration of his "365 days of womanhood."
Captiv8 did not respond to repeated requests for comment sent by the Post. AB InBev, which acquired the St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch in 2008, also refused to comment on the matter.
Alissa Heinerscheid, Bud Light's former vice president of marketing, was named as responsible for the beer brand's disastrous partnership with the transgender influencer. She was put on a leave of absence for her role in the campaign alongside her supervisor, Anheuser-Busch Global VP for Marketing Daniel Blake.
"Given the circumstances, [Heinerscheid] has decided to take a leave of absence which we support. [Blake] has also decided to take a leave of absence," said a company spokesperson. However, sources from inside Anheuser-Busch disclosed that the leaves of absence for both executives weren't voluntary and that "AB InBev named a new executive" to replace Heinerscheid.
Heinerscheid's role became more pronounced after she disclosed her intent to shift Bud Light away from its "fratty" and "out of touch" branding during a podcast. The vice president for marketing explained that re-imagining the beer brand meant "shifting the tone" and "having a campaign that is truly inclusive; feels lighter and brighter and different; and appeals to women and to men."
"I had a really clear job to do when I took over Bud Light. This brand is in decline; it's been in decline for a really long time. If we do not attract young drinkers to come and drink this brand, there will be no future for Bud Light."
Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth later walked back on Bud Light's stance in a lengthy statement. He emphasized how the beer brand has "a proud history supporting our communities, military, first responders, sports fans and hard-working Americans everywhere."
"As the CEO of a company founded in America's heartland more than 165 years ago, I am responsible for ensuring every customer feels proud of the beer we brew," Whitworth said. "We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people. We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer."
Head over to Wokies.news for more stories about Bud Light's disastrous partnership with Dylan Mulvaney.
Watch Owen Shroyer of InfoWars warning that Bud Light's partnership with Dylan Mulvaney will be the beer brand's downfall.
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