Budweiser waded into the immigration debate with its Born the Hard Way Super Bowl ad, which tells the story of its founder arriving in America and coming up with its flagship beer. PR pros are lauding the spot on Twitter as an example of bold brand storytelling.
The spot tells the story of Adolphus Busch’s taxing journey from Germany to St. Louis and his introduction to Eberhard Anheuser. In the spot, Busch is told, "You’re not wanted here! Go home!" upon arriving in the U.S.
In response, the incorrectly spelled hashtag #BoycottBudwiser was trending on Twitter on Monday, with many seeing the ad as a response to President Donald Trump’s immigration ban from seven countries. (The ban was temporarily halted by a federal judge over the weekend).
Marcel Marcondes, Anheuser-Busch’s VP of marketing, denied the commercial was a response to the executive order.
"Our focus this week is on our Super Bowl ads and our brands," he told The Washington Post. "We created the Budweiser commercial to highlight the ambition of our founder, Adolphus Busch, and his unrelenting pursuit of the American dream. This is a story about our heritage and the uncompromising commitment that goes into brewing our beer. It's an idea we've been developing along with our creative agency for nearly a year."
PR pros have been celebrating the ad on social media.
Bill Dalbec, deputy MD of APCO Insight, said in a LinkedIn post that Budweiser’s ad was entertaining, eye-opening, and informative.
"In any other year, it would not be judged political and not been given much notice," he wrote. "It would be a simple brand-building ad, absent Clydesdales, Dalmatians, and puppies."
Matthew Fenton, founder and president of Three Deuce Branding, also said in a LinkedIn post that, given the nature of executive orders these days, the ad was a "bold step by the brewer."
Here are some other tweets from PR pros about Budweiser’s ad:
Advert score: T-Mobile still lead now. Love the Martha Stewart & Snoop one. Budweiser will win for storytelling & beautifully film. #SB51— Chantal Blanchard (@ChantallasPR) February 6, 2017
As a Muslim, I support this message. Trump Supporters Are Boycotting Budweiser Over Its Super Bowl Commercial https://t.co/6xr4YsKr0V— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) February 5, 2017