This is very clever stuff by Budweiser.
While, of course, there was no way that they could have predicted that Donald Trump would enact his ‘Muslim Ban’ this early in his Presidency, or that people would have reacted so vociferously, they must have known that the new President was hardly going to dial down his protectionist, anti-foreigner rhetoric upon taking office.
Thus, making a Super Bowl advert with a clear pro-immigration message would play well with those who disagree with Trump’s actions, which is what they’ve done, by making this moving, lavishly-shot, minute-long advert, telling the story of how its founding fathers met. It shows Adolphus Busch emigrating from Germany to America in 1857, braving events such as a burning riverboat and being told “You’re not wanted here! Go back home!”, before settling in St Louis and meeting co-founder Eberhard Anheuser.
Together they would work to establish the Anheuser-Busch brewery; with Busch becoming the first American brewer to use pasteurization to keep beer fresh; the first to use mechanical refrigeration and refrigerated railroad cars and the first to bottle beer extensively. Budweiser was launched in 1876 and they never looked back.
Of course, the advert clearly shows the benefits and opportunities of immigration – and the company cannot really be criticised by Trump supporters and people in support of the Muslim ban as, well, it’s a true story.
Ad Age claims that the ad wasn’t meant to be political, but we think they’re being smart and playing it down. A statement from the company’s vice president Ricardo Marues says: “This commercial shows the start of Budweiser’s journey, and while it is set in the 1800’s, it’s a story we believe will resonate with today’s entrepreneurial generation - those who continue strive for their dreams.”
You can make your own mind up about their real intentions.