Anyone who’s called customer service knows the frustration of a long wait while nonsensical music plays. But Miles Teller has found a way to make it fun for himself and Keleigh Sperry while they wait on hold. The Bud light customer service commercial features the actor showing off some dance moves while he and his wife drink beer.
The video comes two weeks after Bud Light sparked controversy with its partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. The beer maker received support from the LGBTQ community and backlash from conservatives for posting two Instagram posts featuring Mulvaney — with a combined audience of more than 1.8 million followers on Instagram and 10.8 million on TikTok — and for sending her a can of beer with her face on it.
Some in the company’s traditional core audience felt betrayed by the partnership, especially since Bud Light had been active in promoting LGBTQ causes. The backlash prompted an executive shakeup and Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth published a statement trying to tamp down the animosity directed at the company.
Despite the backlash, beer distributors appear to be sticking with Bud Light and Anheuser-Busch, a sign that the beer maker is not likely to see a sales freefall. But the company’s quarterly earnings call on Thursday will be its first chance to address the issue publicly since the controversy unfolded. It’s unlikely senior executives will take the opportunity to make a direct reference to the Mulvaney controversy on the conference call, but analysts will probably ask questions about it and how the incident has affected Bud Light sales.
A-B’s sales have declined for years, and this incident may have just made the decline worse. The company has been focusing on growth in craft beers and imports in recent years, but its domestic volume continues to drop, and the beer maker’s bottom line is suffering.
If sales continue to slip, the company may be tempted to increase advertising spending in an attempt to turn things around. But a more aggressive ad campaign could alienate the brand’s core audience and potentially prompt a boycott, which would be bad for the beer maker’s reputation and its bottom line.
Regardless of how the company decides to proceed, it will probably find itself at the center of an ongoing debate over how much of its advertising dollars should go towards supporting political causes. The public may be divided on the issue, but it is clear that many Americans aren’t happy with how big businesses spend their money. And the divide appears to be growing. A recent poll by the nonpartisan Public Interest Research Group revealed that more than half of Americans oppose corporations giving their money to political groups, a figure that has been steadily climbing in the past decade. The survey also showed that nearly three-quarters of respondents think that corporations should be less involved in politics than they are today. The survey was conducted by phone from April 16 through June 1, and included a sample of 707 adults.