Anheuser-Busch InBev’s U.S. chief marketing officer Benoit Garbe is leaving his post as backlash over a marketing stunt is hurting sales.
Sales of Bud Light, once America’s best-selling beer, have fallen this year. In the most recent quarter, the brewer reported a 13.5% decline in revenue per 100 liters, the best measure of beer sales.
Garbe oversaw marketing when Bud Light partnered with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney in early April. The pressure from that campaign caused Bud Light to fall behind Modelo Especial in US retail sales.
Some reactions were homophobic, with people accusing the brewer of being “woke”. Ironically, Bud Light also lost traction among LGBTQ communities by failing to defend its partnership with Mulvaney.
Garbe did not directly oversee that partnership. After the boycott call started, the two officers who did so were sent on leave.
He will remain with the company until the end of the year “before starting a new chapter in his career,” the company said in a statement. This post will not be filled after Garbe’s departure. Moving forward, Americas Chief Commercial Officer Kyle Norrington will oversee the marketing of Bud Light and the company’s other brands.
Bud Light is already trying to lure back customers who are boycotting the brand, signing a sponsorship deal with the UFC that is said to be worth in the range of $100 million And working closely with the NFL.
Garbe joined Anheuser-Busch in 2020 after the CMO position remained vacant for nearly a year. Before joining the company, he worked at Diageo, Moët Hennessy, Louis Vuitton and Converse.
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