Bud Light could take notes on crisis management from none other than Porsche. 

The luxury car brand faced fresh criticism for an ad celebrating 50 years of the Porsche 911 that cut Jesus out of the picture, literally.

The company launched a campaign featuring a two-and-a-half-minute video of the car being driven through the windy roads of Portgual. However, Porsche edited out the Cristo Rei – a statue of Jesus Christ that overlooks the city of Lisbon.

Palm, meet forehead.

The airbrushing did not go unnoticed. On social media, users called Porsche out for intentionally removing Jesus Christ from its video. 

People of the Christian faith spoke out and calls for Porsche to be boycotted ensued.

People of the Christian faith and non-believers both have reason to be upset. Cristo Rei is not just a religious statue; it’s iconic, historic, and commemorative of one of the darkest periods in world history. The monument was completed in 1959 to express gratitude for Portugal being spared from the atrocities and destruction of World War II. 

It’s hard to make the case that removing Jesus was a simple error since the pedestal that Christ’s statue was perched on remained intact.

Nevertheless, the company realized that the mistake–whether intentional or unintentional–needed to be addressed.

Within a day or less, the company responded with an apology. In a statement to Fox News, Porsche noted:

In an early version of a film created in Europe, the Cristo Rei Statue does not appear. We are truly sorry and can fully understand the hurt this has caused. This film has been removed.

Porsche replaced the edited video with one including Jesus on the pedestal and a message reads:

A message to our community: in a previously-uploaded version of the 911 S/T launch film, a landmark was removed. This was a mistake, and we apologise for any offence caused. Your comments on this video were appreciated.

The German luxury car brand made a woke decision, was called out for it, apologized, and fixed the issue. 

Instead of sinking its brand, Porsche was smart enough to act swiftly and will likely avoid the financial penalities that companies such as Target, Nike, and Bud Light have paid.

Being politically correct to the point of removing an iconic and historical monument was a forced error and one that warranted fast correction. This story is not likely to pick up steam.

Contrast Porsche’s response with that of Bud Light after the beer company used trans activist Dylan Mulvaney to celebrate women.

The backlash and boycott that ensued has tanked sales by 26% during the most recent week. Anheueser-Busch, which owns Bud Light, reported that revenue has taken a nearly $400 million hit since the backlash began. The company has been forced to lay off 400 workers or 2% of its workforce so far.

Bud Light has also been dethroned as the nation’s top-selling beer. One distributor doesn’t think the company will ever recover.

Bud Light never apologized–likely because they didn’t think they did anything wrong. The closest to an apology the company provided its customers was a weak statement from Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth:

We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people. We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.

My colleague, Angela Morbito, penned a much better statement:

Dear American Beer Drinkers,

We made a mistake. The mistake was not signing Dylan Mulvaney as an influencer. The mistake was misunderstanding who we are. We believe you should consume responsibly, not just our beers, but social media as well. We didn’t, and it shows. 

The corporate executives responsible for hiring Mulvaney were quietly “fired” although that word can’t be used specifically or else the beer company could be sued. 

Meanwhile, to redeem itself with its customer base, Bud Light released a slapstick video painting its customers as a bunch of clumsy oafs and bumpkins.

The message has been clear: when companies go “woke” or pursue far-left agendas, customers will not tolerate it.

Buyers span political, philosophical, religious, racial, ethnic, social, and socio-economic lines. If companies focus on creating great products that meet their customers’ needs, they will be rewarded. The other side of the coin is that their brand reputation can be lost in a moment. 

The fallout from Porsche’s action will be seen, but it’s not likely to be as bad as Bud Light. Maybe brands are learning the costly lesson of being woke.