Lizabeth Landon Cole, founder, Lizabeth PR
Quite frankly the re-brand, temporary or not, is offensive both as an American and a publicist. My opinion is that this will not bring the boost they hoped, rather cost more in the long run. I'd suggest that it may cost Budweiser customers. However, knowing their demographic, I feel that the bad taste will go over their heads. Collectors, however, will be all over these limited edition cans.
Stacey Tank, VP of corporate communications and external affairs, The Home Depot
Budweiser is asserting itself in a world where craft-beer growth is off the charts and imports are also showing strength. Even though it is foreign-owned, it’s leaning into its domestic roots – something that typically makes sense for a brand. This is what makes the beer industry so fun to watch: innovation and constant competition in the marketplace.
Romey Louangvilay, director of digital marketing, Curate Directive
Budweiser, as a beer brand, has been synonymous with what many perceive as "all-American." It has had several American-themed cans in the past, and renaming its beer "America" is definitely a big, yet innovative, risk for the brand, as most iconic brands wouldn't touch their own name. The name change has definitely generated polarizing responses from consumers, which brand representatives must have predicted, since the change taps into the current political climate.
The name change captures those who love the brand and are proud to display their patriotism. On that same note, consumers view the name change as corporate greed. You can already see the responses on Twitter. There are some fans supporting it while others are calling the brand out on what they see as a pure marketing stunt. However with all that said, Budweiser successfully has consumers, marketers, and general social media audiences talking about the brand, and this will most likely be a trending topic for awhile. Mission accomplished on generating buzz.
Beth Monaghan, cofounder and CEO, InkHouse
It's a very bold move to rename a beer "America." Renaming – or newly naming – something is a common PR tactic that tends to get media coverage, particularly when it's controversial or unexpected. Remember "Freedom Fries?" So it appears the strategy is working so far – in the sense that all press is good press – but does beer truly embody the same ideals as America? I'll let consumers decide. Until then, perhaps I will rename InkHouse to AwesomeHouse, just until the election.
The brand received backlash on Twitter in response to its rebrand:
@Budweiser delete your marketing department— Tim Hardin (@TimTakesTime) May 10, 2016
@Budweiser Way to dismiss all the other countries in the "Americas".— Lori Duvall (@fiercefern) May 10, 2016
@Budweiser It's offensive that you feel it's ok to co-opt our country's name for your marketing purposes.— TheDoctor (@thephd) May 10, 2016