Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) sent a letter to Anheuser-Busch executive and Beer Institute Chairman Brendan Whitworth asking him to launch an investigative probe into Bud Light’s partnership with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney.
Joined by fellow Sen. Masha Blackburn (R-TN), Cruz explained to Whitworth, “We are writing to you today in both your capacity as the United States Chief Executive Officer of the Anheuser-Busch Companies and as the Chairman and Senior Director of the Beer Institute, the beer industry’s self-regulatory body with authority over the advertising of beer.”
Cruz and Blackburn requested that the Beer Institute’s Code Compliance Review Board review Anheuser-Busch’s collaboration with Mulvaney.
“The Beer Institute must examine whether your company violated the Beer Institute’s Advertising/Marketing Code and Buying Guidelines prohibiting marketing to individuals younger than the legal drinking age,” the letter said.
The issue, according to the senators, is that “The evidence detailed below overwhelmingly shows that Dylan Mulvaney’s audience skews significantly younger than the legal drinking age and violates the Beer Institute’s Advertising/Marketing Code and Buying Guidelines.”
As an olive branch, the letter suggests that Anheuser-Busch could avoid a Beer Institute investigation by “having Anheuser-Busch publicly sever its relationship with Dylan Mulvaney, publicly apologize to the American people for marketing beverages to minors, and direct Dylan Mulvaney to remove any Anheuser-Busch content from his social media platforms.”
Turning to Whitworth’s position as an Anheuser-Busch CEO, Cruz suggested that the company’s “clear failure to exercise appropriate due diligence when selecting online influences for its marketing efforts warrants detailed oversight by Congress.”
Cruz and Blackburn asserted that “Mulvaney’s online content … was specifically used to target, market to, and attract an audience of young people who are well below the legal drinking age in the United States,” pointing to several of Mulvaney’s videos that show the influencer engaging with younger girls.
“An objective survey of Dylan Mulvaney’s content clearly presents a faux, pre-pubescent girl persona that is created and presented to specifically appeal to young viewers,” the letter read, noting that Instagram and TikTok have predominately younger audiences.
The Beer Institute’s guidance for marketing stipulates that “Placements made by or under the control of the Brewer in magazines, in newspapers, on television, on radio, and in digital media in which there is no dialogue between a Brewer and user, may only be made where at least 73.6% of the audience is expected to be adults of legal drinking age.”
Companies are required to conduct an analysis of audience age “prior to placement.”
The Beer Institute further notes, “In considering whether beer advertising and marketing materials appeal primarily to persons below the legal drinking age, Brewers should take into account … Symbols, Language, Music, Gestures, Entertainers or celebrities, Cartoon characters, Groups or organizations.”
The institute even pointedly states, “Beer advertising and marketing materials should not depict Santa Claus,” since he is a figure clearly designed for children.
Cruz and Blackburn concluded, “The general demographics of Instagram and TikTok, combined with the pre-pubescent content for girls pushed by Dylan Mulvaney, and informed by comments from Anheuser-Busch’s VP for Marketing regarding young drinkers, should have provided overwhelming evidence to the Beer Institute that Anheuser-Busch’s sponsored social media influencer advertising had both the design and effect of marketing an adult beverage product to an audience whose composition was less than 73.6% individuals of drinking age.”
This letter comes as Bud Light suffers a harsh boycott following its partnership with Mulvaney, leading to a massive falloff in sales and causing several executives to distance themselves from the promotional campaign, as reported by The Dallas Express.
Social media users came to the defense of the mega-corporation, criticizing Cruz for focusing on Bud Light instead of other issues.
Chris Summers, a foreign policy analyst, tweeted, “Don’t forget that Ted Cruz can waste time with this BS but he can’t take any time to try to take the first steps to protect children from being shot in their damn classrooms.”
Another social media user, Charlotte Wolfgang, said, “Teddy, YOU ARE SO RIDICULOUS! You wasted tax payer money on writing letters [to] this company? This is just Ted Cruz needing the spotlight to feel like he’s still important.”
“What a dumb thing to do & say!”
Author John Daly said, “Dude, you didn’t even demand an apology from the guy who claimed your dad killed JFK.”