Budweiser doubtlessly enjoyed a dramatic increase in beer consumption Sunday night thanks to America’s most celebrated unofficial holiday.
But the brewing company also faced an outpouring of criticism from some on social media after it aired an ad featuring the fictionalized immigration story of its co-founder, Adolphus Busch, during the big game.
The commercial depicts Busch arriving at a less-than-welcoming America during the 1800s. Although Budweiser insists the ad is not a response to President Trump’s recent immigration ban, its release during such a politically divisive time has stoked tensions, leading some to even call for a boycott of the major brand.
Budweiser should realize that German immigrants were legal immigrants adding value to America not sneaking in illegally. #BoycottBudweiser pic.twitter.com/HjLRoAvZ36
— Hector Morenco (@hectormorenco) February 5, 2017
Never drinking @Budweiser you should respect the AMERICAN president instead you mock with liberal propaganda #boycottbudweiser — lilojuicy (@lilojuicy) February 5, 2017
PROUD of @Potus PROUD 2 b an American! Won’t watch Lady Gag Gag #BoycottNFL #BoycottPepsi #BoycottBudweiser #BoycottHollywood #PepsiHalftime pic.twitter.com/XLLWH7q6yZ
— #AmericaFirst ???????????????????? (@kclady2587) February 5, 2017
Hey Budweiser AMERICA COULD GIVE 2 SHITS ABOUT YOUR POLITICAL OPINION- EPIC mistake ! #boycottbudweiser
— TrumpsAmerica???????? (@irshroz) February 1, 2017
Way to go @Budweiser you’ve managed to piss off middle America. You know, the people who used to drink your beer. #BoycottBudweiser
— Kathy Pierce (@pierce_khh) February 1, 2017
First, it was Starbucks and their holiday cups, then it was Pepsi’s CEO’s nonexistent comments, and now it’s time for the most dedicated Trump supporters to drop their beer cans. If some Trump backers can’t rely on even their favorite drinks to serve as a place of security from an increasingly bizarre political world, what can they rely on? What will be left to drink? Liberal tears?
Budweiser was not the only company targeted as having an anti-Trump agenda, as Coca-Cola, 84 Lumber and Airbnb all ran ads centered on diversity and inclusion, and the controversy surrounding these commercials has prompted a national dialogue on the appropriateness of brands getting political. In the past, companies shied away from chiming in on polarizing political topics.
However, we’ve entered a completely different type of political era — an era focused on an “us vs. them” mentality — and it may be wise for companies to take stances, as long as they do so thoughtfully. While there is always going to be some pushback when a popular brand so much as tiptoes into the political arena, it is important to remember our president is a man who, despite being disliked by the mainstream media, prominent celebrities and politicians, somehow still boasts a dedicated fanbase.
If Trump indeed imposes a tax on goods shipped from Mexico, companies that rely on these goods, such as Corona Beer Stock and Chipotle, are going to suffer major blows, and speaking out against such policies now could prompt aloof and unaffected consumers to pay closer attention to our president’s actions.
In other words, people might care just a tad bit more about open immigration and trade policies once their guacamole is threatened. And as we watch Trump’s administration fully come into power while he questions the integrity of journalists and our political institutions, the need for politics to spill into pop culture increases. Some of Trump’s supporters will grow tired of standing by his administration if it forces them to begrudgingly cut more and more of their favorite products out of their lives, and that might just be a good thing.