Anheuser-Busch’s former chief creative officer — whose iconic ads included the “I Love You, Man” commercials and the talking frogs — blasted the company’s Belgian parent InBev over Bud Light’s Dylan Mulvaney fiasco.
“It took us 20 years to take Bud Light beer to the No. 1 beer in the country, and it took them one week to dismantle it,” Robert Lachky told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this week.
Anheuser-Busch has suffered from “a complete lack of corporate oversight, and it’s been that way since (InBev) took the company over,” he added in the Monday interview.
Lachky — who now runs his own consulting firm in St. Louis, RCL Group – told The Post on Wednesday: “It’s pretty obvious InBev continues to fan the flames on their own with their defensive comments.”
He declined to comment further about the controversy.
The marketing guru created many of Anheuser-Busch’s Super Bowl ad campaigns in the 1990s and 2000s, including the spot in which three frogs sit on lily pads and croak out “Bud,” “Weis,” and “Errr.”
Lachky also spearheaded Bud’s incessant “Whassup?!” promo and the ad showing the company’s famed Clydesdales playing football.
In addition, Lachky served as Bud Light’s brand manager during his 20-year tenure, producing the “I Love You, Man” and “Real Men of Genius” campaigns.
Lachky left Anheuser-Busch in 2009 — four months after InBev acquired the company and began aggressive cost-cutting measures, including several rounds of layoffs.
At the time, Lachky said it was his decision to leave the company.
Representatives for Anheuser-Busch didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Mulvaney controversy has prompted Anheuser-Busch to place two executives — Alissa Heinerscheid, the company’s vice president of marketing, and her boss, Daniel Blake — on leave.
A day before the Mulvaney partnership, Heinerscheid revealed her plans to move Bud Light’s image away from “fratty” and “out of touch” humor.
Bud Light surpassed Miller Lite as the top-selling light beer in the early 1990s and remains the nation’s No. 1 brew — but sales declines have accelerated since the transgender influencer Mulvaney promoted the brand on April 1.
During the week ended April 29, Bud Light sales dropped 23.4% versus a year ago — steeper than the 21.4% decline they saw a week earlier.
The brewers’ other brands, including Michelob Ultra, Natural Light, Budweiser and Busch Light, are being sucked into the maelstrom and have recently suffered painful sales declines, as The Post reported.
Anheuser-Busch, meanwhile, has told its distributors that it didn’t produce the Bud Light can with Mulvaney’s image and that an outside ad agency was responsible for the can, according to distributors.
“We need to clarify the facts that this was one can, one influencer, one post, and not a campaign,” Anheuser-Busch InBev chief executive Michel Doukeris told investors during an earnings call last week.
Shortly after the the April 1 Mulvaney social media posts aired, an Anheuser-Busch spokesperson said the company “works with hundreds of influencers across our brands as one of many ways to authentically connect with audiences across various demographics.”
This story originally appeared on NYPost