Budweiser made a very nice Super Bowl commercial.
Isn’t that a nice story about an immigrant who came to America and did well for himself? I mean, other than the fact that it’s a made-up story.
But my oh my, progressives got themselves all het up over this commercial when it dropped online after President Trump signed his Executive Order banning Muslims from seven countries in the Middle East (that have not produced any terrorist attacks while giving a pass to countries that did 9/11). It flooded into my FB feed and into all the secret and not-so-secret groups with lots of little heart emojis and applause.
I mean, it’s a nice commercial and all, but let’s be real. Budweiser didn’t make or drop this commercial in response to the Executive Order. They got lucky with insanely good (or bad, depending on how you look at it) timing.
Keep in mind, companies plan their campaigns MONTHS in advance. And Anheuser-Busch is known for buying the most expensive of the Super Bowl ad slots, and their production values are insanely high. Usually they rely on assets they already have in place — beautiful farms with beautiful teams of beautiful horses to make beautiful and sentimental commercials that make us laugh or wring out our tear ducts. That’s all good. And judging from this commercial, which looks like a mini-movie, they again spared no expense.
This commercial looks like it took months to execute — scripting, budgeting, planning, casting, producing, and editing, plus all the client and agency approvals in between. So there’s a good chance this commercial was written and shot even before November 8th.
Even if it was created back in November or December with Trump’s stance on immigration in mind, A-B took the most generic and wimpy way out to tell an immigrant story. They told an embellished version of their founder’s story, which is the story of a white, European immigrant. The kind of “good” immigrant that plays well in middle America, so people can let themselves off the hook by saying, “Look, I’m not anti-immigrant, I loved the new Budweiser commercial!”
If A-B wanted to go out on the cutting edge of immigration stories (like 84 Lumber did with their mother/daughter journey), they should have shown a montage of Yemeni bodega owners across New York City stocking their refrigerators with six-packs of Budweiser tall-boys while bantering with the delivery drivers who wheel the cases in on handtrucks every day. They could show a bearded hipster buying a six-pack from a deli and trading friendly words with the deli worker. They could show a firefighter buying a six-pack from a deli to take home after a long and smoky shift. They could show a crew of Latino construction workers at the end of a work day, sitting along a construction fence and sharing a cold six-pack before getting onto the subway and heading home to their families. Then show a Yemeni deli owner keeping his store open 24/7 and being the bright oasis of light on a dark NYC street, or laying a piece of cardboard on the floor in the back of his store to pray five times a day. THAT would be an immigration story to be proud of telling.
Like I said, A-B made a very nice commercial, completely in keeping with their brand. But I wish they and their agency could have been bolder, and told a more up-to-date, realistic immigration story.