A 60-second origin story advertisement posted by Anheuser Busch (NYSE:BUD), the makers of Budweiser beer has sparked a raging controversy in the United States.
The advertisement was first shown during Sunday’s Super Bowl broadcast. It shows Adolphus Busch’s arrival in the country as an immigrant from Germany in 1857 and his initial experiences in America. Titled “Born the Hard Way,” it shows the young lad being told, “You’re not wanted here! Go back home!” Running for a full minute, the advertisement further shows the hardships the young man faced in America, like escaping from a burning riverboat, before eventually settling down in St. Louis, where he met Eberhard Anheuser, the co-founder of Budweiser.
Is the Pro-Immigration Theme a Political Statement?
Thanks to the pro-immigration theme of the advertisement, it has already generated millions of views. Many are saying it is a political statement, following the refugee restrictions policy declared by Donald Trump a few days back, which has created a huge controversy, not just in the United States, but all over the world.
Ad Age, however, says that there is no political statement in the advertisement. It was being worked upon even before the President imposed his immigration bans.
Ricardo Marques, the Vice President of Anheuser Busch issued a press release saying, “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”. It is a celebration of the American spirit, he went on to add. “The story lives within the brand”.
Calls to Boycott Budweiser Gains Ground
The critics, however, would have nothing of this. Many posted on social media with the hashtag #BoycottBudweiser. There were calls to boycott the 150-year-old Budweiser brand, protesting that this was just politically correct propaganda. The sales of Budweiser dropped, as many switched over to other beer brands.
There has been a backlash against the call for a Budweiser boycott too. Opponents of Trump’s immigration policy are also using the #BoycottBudweiser hashtag to criticize the people who are asking for the boycott.
In the meantime, another 90-second advertisement by building materials supply business 84 Lumber has created another controversy. This advertisement too deals with immigration, showing the journey of an immigrant mother and daughter. It asked viewers to visit the company’s website to know what happened to the duo. It sparked such a huge interest that the lumber company’s website crashed.