Is there a topic more fraught right now than immigration? Recent political developments have dragged the normally dry matters of refugee vetting and visa status to the center of the national conversation. Stepping into the middle of that, supposedly accidentally, is Budweiser, with a Super Bowl ad pointing out America’s Beer was created by an immigrant.
The spot is fairly straightforward, laying out Adolphus Busch’s journey from New York to the German immigrant enclave of St. Louis, where he meets Eberhard Anheuser and a long tradition of brewing and beer ads begins. Busch being confronted with somebody telling him they don’t want him here is not just an ad copywriter’s fantasy, either. German Americans were heavily distrusted in American in the 1800s because they tended towards more insular, closed-off communities. The idea of “You’re in America! Speak English!”, for example, was originally directed towards Germans, who were targeted by the Bennett Law, the history of which has some uncomfortable parallels with modern politics.
As you might guess from the relative historical accuracy and big budget, this was in the works well before the election. That a beer ad managed to hit a political flashpoint in America is simply coincidence.
It’ll be interesting to see the reaction to the spot. Anheuser-Busch is hardly what you’d call a collection of bleeding-heart liberals, considering their political contributions over the last few years, but at the same time, it’s worth considering Bud’s statement that the ad is about seeking your dreams and overcoming hardship to find new opportunities. They think that’s the essence of America, and they have a good point.
(via Entertainment Weekly)