The ad agency that facilitated the Dylan Mulvaney partnership with Bud Light now finds itself in a state of “serious panic mode,” according to a report from the New York Post.
Captiv8, an ad agency out of San Francisco that often fixes prominent social media influencers with high-powered corporations like Anheuser-Busch, orchestrated the initial partnership between transgender TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney and the brand Bud Light. In the face of unforeseen and intense backlash to the campaign, Captiv8 has been scrambling to save face after what turned out to be a disastrous move.
One source told the New York Post that the company has been “in serious panic mode” since the backlash began.
The Post noted that it remains unknown exactly how much input Captiv8 had on the Bud Light campaign, such as the beer can bearing Dylan Mulvaney’s image or the infamous TikTok video. Likely, though not confirmed, Captiv8 facilitated the partnership and had little input on the execution of the ads.
The source also said that the agency has returned to “business as usual.”
“Co-founded in 2015 by Krishna Subramanian — a Silicon Valley investor who sold online ad network BlueLithium to Yahoo in 2007 for $300 million — Captiv8 has worked with Walmart, American Express, Twitter and KraftHeinz, according to its website,” noted the Post.
As Breitbart News reported, Bud Light Vice President of Marketing Alissa Heinerscheid was placed on a leave of absence for her role in pushing the ad. Her boss, Daniel Blake, went on a leave of absence almost immediately after.
“Given the circumstances, Alissa has decided to take a leave of absence which we support,” an Anheuser-Busch spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal at the time. “Daniel has also decided to take a leave of absence.”
Sources indicated the two executives did not take a voluntary leave of absence and “AB InBev named another executive to replace” Heinerscheid.
Heinerscheid came under scrutiny following the Dylan Mulvaney ad after video surfaced of her on a podcast earlier this year in which she aimed to shift Bud Light away from its “fratty” base.
“I had a really clear job to do when I took over Bud Light. It was, this brand is in decline, 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,” she said.
Heinerscheid said the brand reimagining meant “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.”
Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth said the company “never meant to be part of a discussion that divides people” in a lengthy statement published after the backlash.
“As the CEO of a company founded in America’s heartland more than 165 years ago, I am responsible for ensuring every consumer feels proud of the beer we brew,” Whitworth wrote, adding that the company has “a proud history supporting our communities, military, first responders, sports fans and hard-working Americans everywhere.”
“We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people,” the statement continued. “We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.”
Mulvaney responded to the backlash on an episode of the iHeartMedia podcast Onward with Rosie O’Donnell, saying he has become an “easy target” because he is “still new to this.”
“I think going after a trans woman who has been doing this for 20 years is a lot more difficult,” said Mulvaney.
Paul Roland Bois joined Breitbart News in 2021. He also directed the award-winning feature film, EXEMPLUM, which can be viewed on Tubi, Google Play, YouTube Movies, or VIMEO On Demand. Follow him on Twitter @prolandfilms or Instagram @prolandfilms.