When I first heard that A-B InBev was renaming its flagship brand, Budweiser to America for the summer and right on through to the election in November, I thought it was a joke.
I honestly can’t believe that here I am blogging again about Budweiser. Just a few posts ago, I was writing about how angry their ads had gotten, taking an in-your-face attitude to new extremes.
Now, this Belgian-owned company is doing the ultimate act of American commercialism, jumping on the patriotic bandwagon in their effort to sell more beer.
Talk about a brand that has lost its way.
You can’t say that the folks at A-B-InBev are doing this to get us all to rally ’round the flag. Putting the Star Spangled banner on a can isn’t exactly a fitting tribute to Francis Scott Key. Sadly, in this day and age, I’ll bet the majority of Americans don’t even know what “E Pluribus Unum” even means or where it originated. Perhaps a few bar conversations might elicit the answer but I’m betting it doesn’t begin a new age of enlightenment about American history.
It’s all about selling beer and Budweiser, or, starting May 23rd, America, is fighting a losing battle. According to Market Watch, “In 1988, Budweiser sold 50 million barrels on its own, making up 25% of all beer sold in the U.S. It has lost more than 70% of its sales since that time and, back in 2011, was knocked into third place among beer brands by Coors Light. It now accounts for just 7% of the U.S. market.”
Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again – but this brand of America is on the decline, getting kicked around by the same craft beers that Budweiser has bashed in recent commercials.
I don’t think the in-your-face attitude is going to fly in their efforts to sell America. Instead, I’m expecting some syrupy, idyllic slice-of-life showing the great times had by all consuming America at backyard bar-b-ques, 4th of July celebrations and sporting events from baseball games to the Olympics. All in an effort to sell more beer.
Maybe they’re hoping that everyone will buy a six pack of America just so we can sit it on the shelf as a collector’s item and shake our heads at the audacity that Carlos Brito is now allowing to be launched from sea to shining sea.
First he does a hostile takeover of Anheuser-Busch. Then he comes in, cuts costs, jobs and puts pressure on suppliers – from rice grain to beechwood to the printing and packaging industry, forcing companies to accept 90-day and in some cases 120-day payments for services rendered. Ah, that’s the American way.
No, it’s not.
I know a lot of people who still work for the brewery. I know a lot of other people who have lost a lot of business ever since the Belgian takeover took place.
Maybe America will be a marketing success.
I’m sure it’s been focus group tested and when quizzed, people still respond that they love America.
I just find it wrong for a company that is now foreign-owned to try and sell beer by putting our country’s name, founding thoughts, and heritage onto a label.
When Chevrolet did it with their, “America loves baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet” it was kind of cute and iconic. When other brands salute the Olympics and play on Americana, it’s to be expected – particularly since many of those companies are helping through sponsorships. But no company (especially a foreign-owned one) has ever done anything quite as blatant as this.
America. I’m not buying it.