A Super Bowl Mermaid Ad And A Sexist Audition
Stink Films, the production company for the ad, had worked with a casting firm called Broad-Cast, and said in a statement that it would no longer work with the individual described in the essay. That individual was not identified.
Dan Cowan, the owner of Broad-Cast, said in an email that “each actor was asked to dance at the beginning of their audition as this was a way to show one’s level of confidence.”
“I do not tolerate any behavior that would make someone feel rushed or uncomfortable,” Mr. Cowan said, adding that he had cast actors in more than 3,500 ads in 25 years and had not previously faced allegations of impropriety. “I have reviewed this internally with my staff to continue to make my office a welcoming environment where every actor feels safe.”
The layers of agencies and employees between Anheuser-Busch and the actors who auditioned for the commercial show how difficult it can be for advertisers to closely monitor how their ads are made. In the past few years, multiple organizations have been pushing to install more female leaders throughout the ad-making process, as commercial directors and agency creative directors.
“The Bon & Viv spot turned out great, and I hope we continue to see more female creators and bosses depicted in ad campaigns,” Ms. Haas said in a statement. “My audition experience was unfortunate and unacceptable. I hope we all get more comfortable with women saying no to uncomfortable, degrading or inequitable situations.”
The Bon & Viv ad was the brand’s first Super Bowl commercial and one of several spots from Anheuser-Busch during the game. The brand, previously known as SpikedSeltzer, was purchased by Anheuser-Busch in 2016. The mermaids are considered the “mythical” founders of the label, which was created by a man in Connecticut in 2013.
Ms. Gallop said the complaint should remind brands to demand accountability from their supply chains.
“The really sad thing is that this is the one instance we heard about,” she said. “This is going down all the time, Super Bowl ad or no Super Bowl ad.”