BARRON’S: It’s Not Just Bud Light. How Companies Are Fighting Back Against the War Over ‘Woke.’
A Bud Light is no longer just something you grab when you feel like a beer. A conservative outcry over Bud’s marketing campaign with a transgender activist has put the brand into the center of a culture war over so-called corporate wokeism.
To many people, Bud was simply getting with the times by embracing activist Dylan Mulvaney, recognizing LGBTQ consumers, and following the lead of brands such as Coca-Cola (ticker: KO), Nike (NKE), and Hershey (HSY). But the conservative backlash against Bud Light produced a 26% drop in beer sales in a week.
Companies from BlackRock (BLK) to Walt Disney (DIS) are under siege as political attacks on progressive corporate policies heat up ahead of the 2024 elections. Some companies are fighting back—notably Disney—and there is scant evidence of firms retreating from environmental, social, and governance, or ESG, initiatives.