Last week, social media went into a tizzy when Anheuser-Busch announced its cans and bottles will read “America” instead of Budweiser for the next six months.
— Budweiser (@budweiserusa) May 10, 2016
Not surprisingly, people weren’t very happy about this change. To start, Anheuser-Busch was bought in 2008 by InBev, a Brazilian company in Belgium. Much of the criticism of the "America" campaign came from people who are saying Budweiser isn’t very American at all.
@Budweiser a little ironic coming from a company that is not even American owned.
— Chris Kerr (@chriskerrwx) May 11, 2016
They are (kind of) correct — Anheuser-Busch is now owned by InBev, an overseas company, but still headquartered in St. Louis. However, that hasn't stopped Budweiser from being one of the top-selling beers in the U.S. — and its sister beer Bud Light is No. 1 by more than $3 billion in sales.
Consumers also showed displeasure with the timing of the name change. Many believe this is a cheap ploy by Anheuser-Busch to benefit from the 2016 presidential race. Joseph Anthony, CEO of Hero Group, a full service marketing agency in New York City, says, "There were few aspects of society that had seemed immune from the binary and partisan political climate of 2016. Thanks to Budweiser, we can now cross beer off that increasingly small list."
Regardless of the backlash, Anheuser-Busch is proving it's power with this campaign. Here are three reasons "America" is a great marketing move.
1. Gets People Talking
"Social media was flooded by millennials mocking the name-change, but behind every 'Murica' joke spouted on Twitter, there is an appreciation and fascination with this decision," explains Anthony.
It's hard to keep up with all the "Budweiser" Twitter mentions and tags. Instagram is already stocked full of photos of the "America" cans and bottles. These pictures will undoubtedly be Photoshopped and memes will be made. There will be jokes told on talk shows and written on bar chalkboards.
However, this isn't a bad thing. It all adds up to content and conversation centered around Budweiser. (Free marketing, anyone?)