Bud Light’s US CMO is out

Kyle Norrington, who takes over marketing duties from outgoing Benoit Garbe, will attempt to win back consumers as the brand leans into live sports—

By Lisa Lacy

Anheuser-Busch (AB InBev) has confirmed Benoit Garbe, the U.S. CMO of its embattled Bud Light brand, is stepping down at the end of the year.

Henceforth, U.S. chief commercial officer Kyle Norrington will oversee all marketing activities including brand plans and portfolio strategy, insights, analytics and investments. Norrington spent several years as a top marketer for Labatt in Canada, and nearly three years as president of Labatt Breweries of Canada.

Meanwhile, U.S. chief sales officer Simon Wuestenberg and high-end business unit president Andy Thomas will report to CEO Brendan Whitworth. Garbe will “embark on a new chapter in his career,” the beer giant said.

According to a statement from Whitworth, these changes will “reduce layers within our organization and better enable our top commercial leaders to drive our business and legacy forward.”

Whitworth also noted the company hopes to “accelerate our return to growth as we continue to focus on what we do best — brewing great beer for everyone and earning our place in moments that matter.”

The news comes near the end of a difficult year for Bud Light, starting, of course, with an April partnership with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney, which led to calls for a boycott.

The impact was swift: parent company AB InBev’s Q2 earnings fell, which was followed by reports of layoffs and the sale of eight portfolio brands.

Now, the brand appears intent on winning at least sports fans back.

For example, mixed martial arts league UFC recently announced a multi-year marketing partnership that will make Bud Light the “Official Beer Partner of UFC” as of Jan. 1, 2024. The contract was previously held by Bud Light’s rival Modelo.

The deal will include social and digital content, broadcast integration and on-site presence.

A few weeks later, Bud Light revealed country singer Zach Bryan will headline a concert in Las Vegas, which will “kick off [the brand’s] Super Bowl LVIII celebrations.”

It remains to be seen whether Bud Light will advertise in the 2024 Super Bowl—but an AB InBev spokesperson confirmed multiple brands will appear in the next Big Game.

Bud Light’s 2023 spot featuring actor Miles Teller ranked among the top ten ads that year, according to USA Today’s Ad Meter.

This article originally appeared at Campaign US, with files from The Message. 

David Brown