The head of AB InBev’s entertainment studio has exited in the latest marketing shakeup at the Anheuser-Busch parent

  • The studio head of Anheuser-Busch parent AB InBev’s entertainment arm has left the company.
  • The exec attributed her departure to fallout from the Bud Light crisis.
  • The company said it remains committed to its entertainment efforts.

The departure of AB InBev’s studio head is the latest marketing shuffle at the Anheuser-Busch parent company following the Bud Light debacle.

The world’s largest brewer had been developing shows and movies to sell to streaming services like Netflix, as big marketers increasingly turn to Hollywood to reach consumers who are increasingly glued to ad-free streaming services. Lauren Denowitz, a seasoned AB InBev marketer, was appointed global studio head, with assistance from Oscar-winning Michael Sugar’s production company, Sugar23, and branded entertainment guru Jae Goodman.

But Denowitz is no longer with us. She blamed her departure on the company’s crisis following the Bud Light debacle in a LinkedIn post. Bud Light was the target of months of conservative-led protests and declining sales as a result of its partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

“Earlier this year, the company faced its largest brand crisis in its several hundred-year history, with the Bud Light situation.” “The ripple effects are widespread,” she wrote, adding that the company is “prioritizing resourcing shorter-term impact initiatives over longer-lead-time strategic bets like brand entertainment.” While I am disappointed that such a promising initiative was cut short, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity.”

An AB InBev spokesperson stated that the company’s work in entertainment would continue, but did not elaborate or comment on the reason for Denowitz’s departure. Denowitz did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Denowitz’s departure, however, is likely to cast doubt on AB InBev’s commitment to the arena. No projects have been announced as of yet.

Brands that invest in films and television series continue to face internal challenges in justifying such investments over marketing tactics that can be more easily tied directly to sales.

Anheuser-Busch sparked the controversy in April when the company sent Mulvaney a personalized Bud Light can for a March Madness contest. AB InBev placed two Bud Light marketing executives on leave in April, then announced in July that it would lay off hundreds of workers, or about 2% of its US workforce, as a result of the controversy. Even though AB InBev beat expectations in the most recent quarter, the fallout has dragged down US performance for two quarters in a row.

On an earnings call on October 31, AB InBev CEO Michel Doukeris stated that after receiving customer feedback on Bud Light, the company would focus its marketing on popular outlets such as football and the UFC. He also stated that according to a survey, more than 40% of lapsed Bud Light drinkers are now more open to returning to the brand.

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