Anheuser-Busch has worked for decades to establish its flagship Budweiser brand as ‘America’s Beer’, in the same vein as Wheel of Fortune is now accepted as ‘America’s Game’. This summer, it’s taking a calculated risk in temporarily rebranding Bud to support that claim. Why is it a risk?
It’s a risk because a brand – especially an iconic one – is terrible thing to fiddle with!
Remember when Coca Cola tried to change the flavour of it’s flagship soda? Or when it first brought out Coke Zero? Or, more recently, when McDonald’s revealed it was playing with the size and contents of its famous Big Mac? Both mega corps faced the prospect of mass protests from their most faithful supporters for even thinking about gently tweaking their products.
So, now, Busch is going to re-brand ‘The King of Beers’, Budweiser, to ‘America’ for the summer. The company says it’s a patriotic gesture designed to, “to celebrate America and Budweiser’s shared values of freedom and authenticity.”
Okay. Setting aside the fact that the genealogy of Busch beers is German, not born-and-bred American, let’s look at the campaign as a whole. Great idea, I say. At least on the surface. We’re told there’s a massive summer ad campaign coming, on TV, in print,on billboards and online, incorporating lyrics from The Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful.
“Budweiser has always strived to embody America in a bottle, and we’re honored to salute this great nation where our beer has been passionately brewed for the past 140 years,” declared Bud Vice President Ricardo Marques.
It’s interesting to see that the ad campaign, titled ‘America is in Your Hands’, is scheduled to run from May 23 right up to the U.S. general election in November. As far as I know, Busch hasn’t officially endorsed any particular candidate.
We’ll be interested to see whether it has any effect on the election result or on Bud lovers’ preferences…
~ Maggie J.