The Journey to a Better Life

This commercial for Budweiser in the 2017 Superbowl captures a German immigrant on his perilous journey to America.  Featuring haneous backlash  and seemingly unbearable conditions, this man appears to be doing whatever it will take to attain the American dreams.  Conditions dramatically change as he reaches St. Louis, Missouri and is greeted with kindness and acceptances.  As the man goes in to a local bar, he presents a sketch of a beer bottle design to another man, introducing themselves as Anheuser Busch, leaving the audience to infer they are the founders of Budweiser, as the logo appears on the screen with the words “When Nothing Stops Your Dreams, This is the Beer We Drink.”  This uplifting message juxtaposes the treacherous journey that the man takes to get here, and likens Budweiser to the essence of the american dream.

An important symbol in this commercial is the idea of the American dream, and those doing anything they can to reach it.  Commercials of the past for Budweiser have also focused on attaining dreams, such as the ‘Clydesdale Donkey’ which, stemming from the commonly known Budweiser Clydesdales concept, featured a donkey who was able to attain all of his dreams by making the cut to be a competing horse.  This is one of the most well-liked and well-remembered Budweiser commercials in existence.  What differs from this commercial, however, is the concept of the american dream, rather than any other type of dream.  American viewers are more apt to listen and empathize to something they personally understand.  Whether it was a grandparent who went through it , or simply just their nationalism in full effect, Americans love the idea of the American dream.  This catalyzes an emotional transfer between the viewers and the commercial, as they are meant to be compassionate with his suffering, and filled with admiration when they realize what he became.

Though this does emphasize the idea of the American dream, a large part of this focuses on the political issue of immigration the country is currently facing.  While Budweiser denies any political affiliation or correlation between Trump’s immigration views and their commercial, it is difficult to ignore the relevancy to America’s situation. Many of the denying factors could stem from a need for sales to increase, as “Budweiser ads typically cost between $2 million to $3 million to produce. Add the record $5 million average cost for a 30-second Super Bowl ad, and it’s easy to understand why the brewing company is hoping its $12 to $15 million commercial can spur growth in sales.”  Because of the extremely polarized nature of politics today, it is understandable for Budweiser to not take a political stance sheerly because of their sales, as before their statement Trump supporters were already wanting to boycott their products.  However, though this commercial was filmed before Trump’s implementing of the “Muslim-Ban,”it contrasts to the very different ideas surrounding immigration between generations.  This appeals to the social outcasts idea, as putting this man down, only to build him up as a huge success is moving and relatable to viewers.

The song choice in this video, similarly, adds to the connection between the audience and the commercial, and even the brand. “Born the Hard Way” plays in the background as the story of the co-founder of Budweiser is explained.  This song is emotional and relatable, showing that not all are born with an easy life, but hard work can pay off in order to be a great success.

As of 2016, Budweiser was the 4th most popular beer.  It will be interesting to see if any political association, accidental or not, will effect their sales. Because previous commercials from Budweiser have had negative backlash for various reasons, this issue may cause a decrease in sales, and be seen for its relevancy to today rather than the past.

Sources:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budweiser
  2. http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2017/01/31/budweiser-debuts-pro-immigration-super-bowl-ad/
  3. http://fortune.com/2017/02/05/budweiser-super-bowl-commercial-immigration-boycott/
  4. http://nesn.com/2017/01/budweisers-super-bowl-li-ad-born-the-hard-way-tells-story-of-immigrant-co-founder/
  5. https://www.statista.com/statistics/188723/top-domestic-beer-brands-in-the-united-states/
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