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Reblogged:Fake Beer Earns Real Lawsuit

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I have no dog in the hunt for Bud Lite, nor did I even before wokeskolds made the hilarious decision to employ Dylan Mulvaney in ads.

Indeed, I blame full-blown Budweiser for my lateness to the beer appreciation party. I saw no reason to drink it -- or bother with beer at all -- until I visited Germany during college and had actual beer.

A few subsequent tastings over the years since have only deepened the mystery to me of how this ever was a viable brand of beer. How does anyone get or keep enough of this stuff in their system to get a buzz?

I am not just just bashing Budweiser here: This stuff is both an instant turnoff and a potent diuretic to me. But for the taste, I am tempted to down one and start a timer.

That out of the way, the whole Dylan Mulvaney thing has had me laughing and scratching my head from the get-go.

These light versions of American lagers are all pretty much interchangeable, poor excuses for beer, and mostly about posturing -- I mean branding -- so in that sense, who better as a representative than Dylan Mulvaney?

But lots of the people who are in knots over Mulvaney would doubtless think I'm a weirdo, so let's quote Jonah Goldberg on the subject:
Buh-what? I'll take a beer, please. (Image by John Parry, via Unsplash, license.)
My skepticism that the Bud Light example can be replicated stems from the particulars of the product and its market. Generic, cheap, low-calorie beer is a commodity easily replaced by competitors. What Bud Light sells is the brand. Whether you care about trans issues or not, if you're even moderately concerned about getting grief from friends at a party, all you need to do is buy essentially the same product that's social statement free and available right next to Bud Light at the store.

Moreover, unlike many other products, you display the brand when you consume it -- it's a visible choice. If you bought your shirt at Target, a recent focus of Bud Lighting for selling trans-friendly products, no one will be able to tell at the tailgate party. Replacing a Target shirt involves a lot more hassle and cost than replacing Bud Light. [bold added]
That's putting it as mildly and in the best light possible, and I think Goldberg is on the money.

Let me go further. Up until -- what? -- a decade or so ago, when advertisers still felt safe assuming that most men were heterosexual and wouldn't get canceled or sued out of existence for extolling a certain beauty standard, beer ads frequently featured conventionally beautiful women, trucks, barbecues, fishing trips, and other things most guys like. The brand was a shorthand way of showing solidarity with other men, to make it easier to find common ground and relax.

Dare I say Bud Lite was a way to signal masculinity?

I never felt the need, but that's the distinct impression I always got from the ads -- and from people I met early in college who were oddly aggressive about getting crappy beer into the hands of incoming freshmen like me. (What's it to this guy if I drink this or not? I'd wonder before slipping away and giving the bottle to somebody else.)

It was as if some people were so insecure about themselves that they had to have others doing the same thing.

(It was a long time before I saw the aggressiveness as a manifestation of insecurity, but I'm pretty sure I'm right, in retrospect.)

And that's where a possible new lawsuit comes in:
... America First Legal, which did not return requests for comment, appears to be laying the foundation for what's called a "Stock-Drop Lawsuit."

In concept, such lawsuits claim a company did not fully discharge its fiduciary obligations to shareholders ahead of a decline in the value of their stock.

Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor, said that could be hard to prove.
I agree, and hope the lawsuit succeeds. It is far too common these days for "investors" to support political causes instead of their remit, which is to maximize returns. This has got to stop.

And given the above, I think it might be easier to prove than it might be for other companies.

If the legal team has a grain of sense, they'll follow the beer babe angle to the hilt. As I see it, these brands munge together all kinds of things -- including sexuality -- to sell their beer as a sort of elixir to enable male bonding, to cure male insecurity, and to head off any suspicion that you aren't "one of the guys" in some way.

They spent decades associating their brands with traditional hallmarks of masculinity and success, to the point that some guys probably do think of pretty women when they pick up a six-pack or a carton.

Only now, they get the unwelcome intrusion of a guy dressed as a woman if they choose Bud Lite. If you like women, you won't appreciate that.

And if -- like I was when I was young -- you're, say slight of build or otherwise prone to attracting taunts or other unwanted male attention, you likely won't welcome the prospect of more of the same that now comes with purchasing this brand.

Now, maybe I'm wrong. I don't watch much TV and I avoid commercials as much as possible. Perhaps Budweiser has been backing off from that kind of marketing for some time, and Mulvaney is just a next logical step, but I seriously doubt it: Too many people got too upset all at the same time for that.

Right or wrong, they built their brand by catering to a certain type of conformity and the insecurities that go with it. Their sudden shift, whatever its intent, was always obviously going to cost them business. A company has the right to do this, but not without the consent of its shareholders.

I am not a lawyer, but the biggest obstacle to the success of this case might be showing that a majority of the shareholders (probably institutional and ESG-ridden) opposed or would have opposed the move.

As for me, the only thing Budweiser might cause me to buy more of is popcorn...

-- CAV

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