Anheuser-Busch DENIES report it fired two top marketing executives

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Anheuser-Busch executives have seemingly denied reports the company fired two top marketing executives who were found responsible for Bud Light’s disastrous Dylan Mulvaney campaign.

The Daily Caller reported on Tuesday that the beer giant officially fired Group Vice President of Marketing Daniel Blake and Bud Light Marketing Vice President Alissa Heinerscheid, citing text messages with an unknown regional marketing leader at the company.

Blake and Heinerscheid were said to be taking a ‘leave of absence’ amid backlash for their decision to feature the trans TikToker in a March Madness commercial.

And when approached by DailyMail.com earlier this month, a friend of Heinerscheid’s said ‘she’s not supposed to talk about it, she can’t.’

But in a statement to DailyMail.com, a spokesperson for Anheuser-Busch said they were still both on a ‘leave of absence.’

Bud Light Marketing Vice President Alissa Heinerscheid

Group Vice President of Marketing Daniel Blake

Bud Light Marketing Vice President Alissa Heinerscheid and Group Vice President of Marketing Daniel Blake are said to be taking a leave of absence

Their departures came amid backlash to a controversial March Madness advertisement featuring trans TikToker Dylan Mulvaney

Their departures came amid backlash to a controversial March Madness advertisement featuring trans TikToker Dylan Mulvaney

‘Given the circumstances, Alissa has decided to take a leave of absence which we support,’ the spokesperson said, adding that Daniel is also ‘taking a leave of absence.

‘In the interest of our employees’ safety and privacy, we’re not providing any additional information.’

The statement echoes the one Anheuser-Busch executives made in April, when it announced the two marketing executives ‘decided’ to temporarily step down.

‘Given the circumstances, Alissa has decided to take a leave of absence which we support. Daniel has also decided to take a leave of absence,’ the company said at the time.

But questions remained about their sudden departures in the aftermath, especially when Anheuser-Busch executives later claimed that the decision to work with Mulvaney was made by an ‘outside agency without management awareness or approval.’

By Tuesday, reports were swirling that Heinerscheid and Blake had officially been fired from their positions at Anheuser-Busch, as an unidentified source at the company told the Daily Caller executives only claimed they were on a ‘leave of absence’ to avoid a lawsuit. 

‘To my understanding, if we publicly announced the word “fire” it opens up the potential for them to sue us. That’s why we said leave of absence,’ the source said, adding: ‘The wholesalers would have had an absolute HAY DAY with leadership if they didn’t remove [Heinerscheid].’

‘Wholesalers were told they are both gone for good by leadership during in-person conversations,’ the source claimed. ‘They already shifted all their direct reports to new people and the head of marketing.

He added that he thought Blake was ‘actually awesome.’

‘I think he was just caught in [the] cross fire,’ the source said. ‘But also he did hire her… so that’s a fault.’

When approached by DailyMail.com regarding claims that she had no idea of the campaign, Heinerscheid (left) declined to comment ¿ but a friend said: 'she can't talk about it', before being whisked away

When approached by DailyMail.com regarding claims that she had no idea of the campaign, Heinerscheid (left) declined to comment – but a friend said: ‘she can’t talk about it’, before being whisked away

It is unclear if Heinerscheid is on paid leave from the company,

She joined in 2022 and vowed to freshen up its image

It is unclear if Heinerscheid is on paid leave from the company, but she joined in 2022 and vowed to freshen up its image

Blake is a nine-year veteran of Anheuser-Busch and oversaw marketing for both Bud Light and Budweiser. 

He served as group VP of marketing for Budweiser and value brands before being promoted in May 2022 to group vice president of Anheuser-Busch’s mainstream brands. He had also served at the company as the vice president of the company’s value brands.

In his position, Blake was responsible for hiring Heinerscheid to overhaul Bud Light’s marketing in June 2022 with the vision of freshening up its image. 

Just a few months before the company released its controversial ad, Blake announced a ‘new era for Bud Light’ as he shared an article about the beer’s ‘sophisticated’ decision to feature a female main character in its Super Bowl ad.

A post to LinkedIn shortly before that also opined on how ‘everyone is connected through the same American Spirit values and, of course, Budweiser’.

During a podcast appearance days before the Mulvaney partnership was announced, Heinerscheid said Bud Light was on the wane when she took the helm last summer, but planned to right the ship 

Heinerscheid, meanwhile, touted her strategy to ditch Bud Light’s ‘fratty’ reputation and embrace inclusivity to attract a young generation of drinkers in an interview just days before the Dylan Mulvaney ad was released.

‘I’m a businesswoman. I had a really clear job to do when I took over Bud Light, and it was this brand is in decline,’ she said. 

‘It’s been in decline for a really long time. And if we do not attract young drinkers to come and drink this brand, there will be no future for Bud Light. 

‘So I had this super clear mandate. It’s like we need to evolve and elevate this incredibly iconic brand.

‘What does evolve and elevate mean? It means inclusivity. It means shifting the tone. It means having a campaign that’s truly inclusive and feels lighter and brighter and different. And appeals to women and to men. 

‘And representation. Is it sort of the heart of evolution? You’ve got to see people who reflect you in the work. 

‘And we had this hangover. I mean, Bud Light had been kind of a brand of fratty, kind of out of touch humor, and it was really important that we had another approach,’ she said. 

In an earlier interview with Forbes, she gave the same mandate. 

‘As the first woman to lead the biggest beer brand in the world, it’s an amazing opportunity to really evolve and elevate Bud Light, this brand I love. 

‘This campaign is meant to feel different, to be lighter and brighter, with a confidence and magnetism, and it’s really critical to depict real people and real places,’ she said.

‘What I need to do to help this brand to evolve… this is my passion point.’ 

Heinerscheid’s job was taken over by Todd Allen, who recently served as global vice president of Budweiser. 

The once-popular beer company saw its worst week in sales since teaming up with Mulvaney, 26, to celebrate her 365th day of girlhood, dropping 26.8 percent the week of June 10

The once-popular beer company saw its worst week in sales since teaming up with Mulvaney, 26, to celebrate her 365th day of girlhood, dropping 26.8 percent the week of June 10

But Bud Light is continuing to reel from the effects of the Dylan Mulvaney marketing campaign, with sales dropped 26.8 percent for the week ending June 10, the worst week-on-week performance since the early April ad.

It’s a deeper drop from the week ending on June 3, which saw a 24.4 percent drop, according to Bump Williams Consulting and NielsenIQ. The new low beats the previous worst – an almost 26 percent drop – for the week ending May 25.

It comes after Bud Light lost its crown as America’s bestselling beer to Modelo, a Mexican lager brewed by Grupo Modelo – which is also owned by Bud manufacturer Anheuser-Busch.

Anheuser-Busch’s other US brands – including Budweiser, Michelob Ultra and Natural Light – have also seen a significant decline in sales since the controversy. Bud is down 10 percent, while Natty Light and Michelob are down 2.3 and 2.4 percent, respectively. 

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