Anheuser-Busch CEO Downplays Dylan Mulvaney Controversy in Earnings Call

Anheuser-Busch CEO Downplays Dylan Mulvaney Controversy in Earnings Call

“This was one can, one influencer, one post and not a campaign,” Anheuser-Busch CEO Michel Doukeris told investors during an earnings call today. He blamed the “social media landscape” and downplayed the brand’s connection to the influencer saying that “big brands with significant reach can be pulled into a discussion like this one.”

“Beer will always be at the table when important topics are debated,” he added. “The beer itself should not be the focus of the debate, to me, this is the key learning.”

After the brand received backlash from the Bud Light March Madness contest, two executives that worked on the campaign – Alissa Heinerscheid, vice president of marketing at Bud Light and Daniel Blake, Budweiser’s group vice president for marketing – took a leave of absence. 

“We have adjusted and streamlined our marketing structure, so the most senior marketers are more closely connected to every aspect of our brands. In addition, we are supporting our front line teams,” he said. We are investing in Bud Light, tripling media investment for the summer and we are investing more for wholesalers in our local markets.”

Doukeris also downplayed the drop in sales during the first three weeks in April, saying that it represents only a 1% drop of global volumes for that period. During the week which ended on April 15, in-store sales were down 17% to $78.2 million, compared with the same week one year ago, according to data from Bump Williams Consulting, shared with Brand Innovators. That decline dropped further to 21.4% for the week ending April 22, when Bud Light sales totaled $73.4 million. 

During the NFL draft, the brand dropped a new ad “Bud Light Shower Beer” on its YouTube page, but disabled comments. The new spot shows a group of young people at an outdoor festival, opening beer in the race. Set to the tune of Zac Brown band’s “Chicken Fried” the ad features the tagline, “Easy to Drink, Easy to Enjoy,” same tagline the brand used in its Super Bowl spot “Hold,” starring Hollywood Miles and Keleigh Teller.