Immigration Blog

During the mid-1800s many German immigrants came to St. Louis. Brewing beer quickly became a main staple for these immigrants and they introduced America to (the German) Budweiser, a lager beer. During this time, Eberhard Anheuser and Adolphus Busch, two German immigrants, came together to form Anheuser-Busch Association in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1876 Busch and his friend, Carl Conrad, made what is today known as Budweiser, an American lager, and it became more popular than anyone had imagined. Today Budweiser is one of the most popular beers in America.

This 2017 Super Bowl commercial, made by Anheuser-Busch, shows the struggles of a young German immigrant coming to America. This video portrays the intolerance immigrants faced in the 1800s and still face today. Titled “Born the Hard Way”, it is easy to hear the rude comments being yelled and the struggles faced by, who is suppose to be, Adolphus Busch as he comes to America. However, this video shows that “when nothing stops your dream” anything is possible.

The tone of the video in the beginning is very mean, you can tell just by listening to the background noises and people yelling.  You can tell the man is going through hardships by the short sentences in the video like “abandon ship” and the men yelling “you’re not welcome here” and “go home”. Then, towards the end, the background noises aren’t harsh or rude and the mood picks up as Busch’s struggles seem to end when he meets Eberhard Anheuser. You hear a man say “welcome to St. Louis, son” and another say “beer for my friend”, showing the positivity to following your dreams. The brand connects with the viewers by showing a man’s struggle because whether you’re from America or not, everyone faces struggles in life that they must overcome and that shows a commonality that people can relate to and respect.  This makes people feel sorry for the man getting stitches and being harassed by people in the streets which in turn makes them happy when they see him succeed. Finally, at the end, when the Budweiser logo appears,  one can hope that it could change someone’s mind about immigration because how can someone be so against immigration when one of the most “American” things came from immigrants?

Although there were more positive reactions to this video, there were of course bad ones as well. The video itself is captioned “This is the story of our founder’s ambitious journey to America in pursuit of his dream; to brew the King of Beers”. Many negative comments about immigrants and over 17,000 thumbs down. One comment said “looks like Budweiser is going on the list right next to Starbucks” and another “#notmybeer”, these comments show the hostility immigrants unfortunately still face today.

Given the history about the Anheuser-Busch company and although, in an article written about the video by Maria Godoy for NPR, the company has denied taking a political stance, I still think there is a very obvious bias about immigration. It seems clear that Anheuser-Busch welcomes immigrants as their company started with immigrants. I think that with this video Budweiser wants to show America that immigrants should be welcome because immigrants shape America just like the immigrants who created one of the most popular beers in America did.

 

Bibliography:

“For the Love of Lager: the History of Anheuser-Busch.” About, 14 Dec. 2016, www.anheuser-busch.com/about.html.

Godoy, Maria. “Budweiser’s Super Bowl Ad And The Great Debate Over What It Means To Be An American.” NPR, NPR, 3 Feb. 2017