Former Mariner Ken Griffey Jr. waves to the crowd during a jersey retirement ceremony prior to the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Safeco Field on August 6, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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Ken Griffey Jr., who was once one of the biggest names in professional baseball, has recently appeared in new promotions for Budweiser. Some have suggested that the Griffey promotions may help Budweiser's parent company, Anheuser-Busch, restore its reputation with traditional sports fans, many of whom were alienated by Bud Light's association with controversial transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
On Thursday, Budweiser tweeted out a short promo for new merchandise featuring Griffey. The promo comes just before the All-Star Game, which will take place Tuesday evening in Seattle, Washington. Griffey spent 11 years with the Seattle Mariners, racking up 10 Gold Glove Awards and seven Silver Slugger Awards. The Mariners retired Griffey's number, 24, in 2016.
"Look like an All-Star," the Budweiser tweet said. "Introducing the Budweiser x Ken Griffey Jr. All-Star Collection. Shop now at the link in bio."
In addition to the merchandise, Budweiser also featured Griffey and his father, Ken Griffey Sr. — who also had a respectable MLB career — in a recent TV commercial. With the tagline "to the dads who believe in us," the ad originally aired just before Father's Day and has once again returned to the airwaves in time for the All-Star Game.
The commercial features father and son reflecting on their respective careers. In fact, the two actually played together in Seattle for a few weeks in 1990, marking the only time in MLB history that a father-son duo played on the same team at the same time. On September 14 of that year, they hit back-to-back home runs.
Budweiser | Griffey Father’s Dayyoutu.be
As Griffey Jr. is now part owner of the Mariners and the Mariners have a partnership with Budweiser, it's no surprise that the Hall of Famer would appear in Budweiser promotions. In a typical summer, such commercials would be expected. But this summer, Anheuser-Busch is still struggling to appeal to traditional sports fans, many of whom stopped purchasing Bud products in early April when Mulvaney revealed that Bud Light had given him cans with an image of his face imprinted on them.
In the last three months, Bud Light sales have cratered, costing Anheuser-Busch $27 billion in market value. About two weeks after the fiasco with Mulvaney began, the beer giant attempted to restore its relationship with American consumers by issuing a traditional Budweiser ad featuring Clydesdale horses and working-class men in flannel shirts, but the ad was widely panned as desperate and inauthentic.
Then, just last week, Bud Light issued an ad starring Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. In the commercial, dubbed "Backyard Grunts," Kelce and other fatherly-looking men try to relax with friends and a cold beer at what appears to be a neighborhood gathering. But that ad has also seemingly missed the mark with audiences, some of whom noted that Kelce does not hold or consume a Bud Light at all during the ad.
If the comments on Budweiser's tweet are any indication, this latest stunt with Griffey has also failed to connect with consumers, some of whom seem to doubt Anheuser-Busch's sincerity. "No thanks, I prefer beer that knows the difference between men and women and mocks neither," wrote one user. "All you have to do is say you are sorry," said another. One user even tweeted an image of Mulvaney's Bud Light can as the ill-fated OceanGate Titan submarine. So even the legendary Ken Griffey Jr. and his dad, two beloved icons of America's pastime, have so far been unable to salvage the once-strong relationship between Anheuser-Busch and patriotic Americans.
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Sr. Editor, News
Cortney Weil is a senior editor for Blaze News.