The new Super Bowl ad spot from Budweiser dropped today, and like most ads specially produced for the Super Bowl – America’s biggest annual cultural event event – it has people talking.
But this ad isn’t just clever or funny. It’s both touching and a political statement.
The new one-minute spot features the origin story of the Budweiser brewing empire, and shows co-founder, Adolphus Busch, a German immigrant, coming to America amidst many dangers only to meet a slew of hecklers, who spit on him and tell him he is “not wanted here.”
The scene is set in 1857, and shows young immigrant Adolphus traveling to the U.S. from Hamburg, undergoing many hardships and much disdain before settling on the Mississippi River in St. Louis. His dream is the brew beer. Director Chris Sargent told Adweek that he was warned off of doing a “period piece” because it contrasts so vividly with contemporary programming. But Sargent wasn’t put off.
The ad, dubbed “Born the Hard Way,” is a way for the company to build a closer relationship with Millennials who are turning away from mass production toward small breweries and craft beers. Origin stories, after all, are one way for big brands to reconnect with a target market in a more intimate way.
But it also speaks to the feeling of many Americans about the immigration issue.
Perhaps it was unintentional, but the timing couldn’t be more apt than just four days after Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban was issued. Perhaps the company decided to drop the ad now, instead of saving the suspense for Sunday, when most Super Bowl ads debut.
Budweiser is perfectly aware that their new Super Bowl ad is topical, although they might not have guessed that the anti-immigrant, discriminatory executive order from the White House would result in thousands of citizens protesting at airports across the country.
Budweiser VP Ricardo Marques told Adweek that although they were aware it was topical, they didn’t intentional mean it to be controversial. But he did have a rather subtle message that he couched inside carefully chosen words:
“There’s really no correlation with anything else that’s happening in the country. We believe this is a universal story that is very relevant today because probably more than any other period in history today the world pulls you in different directions, and it’s never been harder to stick to your guns.”
You can watch the new Budweiser Super Bowl ad below and decide for yourself: