Thursday, 2 February 2017

Political Shandy?

I must admit to having felt slightly queasy about the Budweiser 'patriotic rebrand' this summer, whereby the 'great American lager' was packaged in a new design where 'US' replaced 'AB' and 'America' replaced the brand name, along with the slogan 'America is in your hands.' Odd, really, as I have no qualms about brands from the UK getting all patriotic now and again .

Maybe the difference lies with the tonality: the British way is almost always tongue-in-cheek and rather self-deprecating whereas the Budweiser packaging seemed bombastic and taking itself far too seriously. I wasn't the only one, however: plenty of liberal-minded commentators found the Trump-style rebrand a little hard to swallow.

Budweiser is now coming in for criticism for its Super Bowl commercial: Born the Hard Way, which follows what I expect is a new advertising trope for 'story of our founder starring a moody and hunky young actor' - see Burberry.

Born the Hard Way tells the story of the founder of Anheuser-Busch, the brewers of Budweiser. Adolphus Busch was born just down the road from us, funnily enough, in Mainz-Kastel. He emigrated to St. Louis in 1857, at the age of 18, and the rest is history.

The film emphasises the difficulties faced by immigrants, and the hard work put in by Busch to found and develop what has become 'the great American lager.'



So now the criticism is coming in from the other side: the Trump supporters who see this as blatant anti-Trump propaganda.

I'm not too convinced that politics and beer is a good mix, but I wouldn't be surprised if we see a few more of these 'founder stories' doing the rounds.

Levis would seem to be a prime candidate.


5 comments:

Sue Imgrund said...

And here's an article about how various brands (or at least the people in charge of them) reacted publicly to President Trump's travel ban:
http://www.thedrum.com/news/2017/01/30/how-brands-stood-up-president-donald-trump-s-panned-travel-ban

Barbara Fisher said...


Hello Sue, your comment about politics and beer got me thinking about the number of UK politicians recently photographed with pints of beer. From there I decided to have a look at The Houses of Parliament website, and ended up booking a guided tour followed by afternoon tea in one of the riverside rooms in the House of Commons. They don’t serve beer with afternoon tea, but we can have a glass of champagne – cheers! I love visiting your website it is always so inspiring. Now I must away and book a hotel room for the night before the tour. After that I will follow your link above. :-)

Sue Imgrund said...

I've never visited the House of Commons, but it must be fascinating. As far as the politicians go, there are one or two I'd share a pint with, but rather more that I'd accidentally tip a pint in their lap ;)

Barbara Fisher said...

I would pay to see that Sue! :)

Sue Imgrund said...

And here's some more on brands finding their political voice:
http://www.contagious.com/blogs/news-and-views/opinion-speaking-out

I'm all for brands having a (higher) purpose, but that purpose doesn't have to be political as such. As for the Unilever sustainability example, I am of the opinion that brands should take the lead in sustainability via what they do, not by shouting louder than the next one, or by producing the most right-on tugging-at-the-heart-strings commercial.