For Super Bowl Sunday, Budweiser decided to run an ad that many would see as controversial, at least during today's political climate: they told the story of Adolphus Busch, who immigrated to the United States before opening the Anheuser-Busch brewery (i.e., the brewery that crafts the Budweiser beer many Americans know and love). But some of the worst reactions to Budweiser's immigrant commercial prove that not everyone welcomes a positive ad about foreigners and immigration. Some have called for boycotts, while other responses were simply downright racist and xenophobic.
In an interview with AdWeek, Ricardo Marques, vice president of the Budweiser brand, explained that the ad wasn't meant to be political. "There’s really no correlation with anything else that’s happening in the country," he said. "We believe this is a universal story that is very relevant today because probably more than any other period in history today the world pulls you in different directions, and it’s never been harder to stick to your guns."
However, Marques also added:
Even though it happened in the 1850s, it’s a story that is super relevant today.
For some supporters of recent temporary refugee and travel bans, though, the ad apparently seemed like criticism. Critics took to social media to share their distaste, and many let Budweiser know they would no longer be drinking their beer.
Many saw the ad as a jab at President Donald Trump's recent executive orders that temporarily ban refugees and immigrants from certain countries from entering the United States. They began tweeting #BoycottBudweiser and #BoycottBud, promising to switch their Budweiser beers out for a different brand.
However, on a more positive note, many people responded with support for the brand, promising to pick up a six-pack on the way home thanks to the Budweiser ad's message. One Twitter user wrote, "So, Budweiser should anticipate record-breaking profits by the end of next week." Another user wrote, "To all the people & corporations that value that we are a land of immigrants & oppose bigotry, this buds for you."
The worst reactions to Budweiser's immigrant commercial — the xenophobic ones that attack immigrants and those from certain backgrounds — prove why we need ads like Budweiser's now more than ever. Budweiser's "Born the Hard Way" ad shows a huge amount of respect and admiration for their founder's journey — and hopefully, that's a feeling people can cultivate for all immigrants that are working hard for a better life.