Budweiser’s Super Bowl commercial opens with two men, seemingly American, sitting at a bar when one man looks at the other and proclaims, “You don’t look like you are from around here.” Flashbacks of the German man’s journey tells us that it wasn’t an easy road to find himself sitting on that barstool. The German immigrant traveled on a ship through rough waters and was pushed around by citizens, telling him things like, “go back where he came from” and “you’re not wanted here” as he entered the United States. As I watched, I couldn’t help but think about this course. Who gets to label this man and tell him where he belongs? When does this man become an American? We hear at the beginning of the commercial, the immigrant speaking about why America is the place where his dreams will be obtained. “I want to brew beer,” he states as someone asks him why he must leave Germany. As the commercial progresses, we gradually see him become accepted. He is welcomed and people don’t even notice that he is originally from Germany. At the conclusion of the commercial, he is back at the bar with the American man, as he is treated to a beer. The German man quickly informs the American man of the beer that he should be drinking–his own creation, Anheuser.
This commercial is reminiscent of Kirsten’s journey to America. When did she become an American? Though these two individuals have generational differences, it is easy to see the similarities. Kirsten and her family also traveled on a small ship, facing the challenges of storms, injuries, and deadly illnesses. Both of these individuals put their lives at risk to travel to “the land filled with opportunity.” Though Budweiser claimed that the commercial was not intended to be a political statement, it aired just after Trump’s new immigration policy. This sparked conversation about the brand as well as the underlying message it was sending. The commercial successfully introduces America to the founder of Anheuser-Busch, a German man who left his home and likely his family, for the opportunity to brew beer. The risk that this man took went on to eventually build one of the most successful brands in America. Many of the successful brands in America may never have originated if their founders had never taken the greatest risk of their lives to immigrate to this foreign land. I think that this commercial successfully challenged some of the notions regarding immigration by forcing Americans to think about how immigrants may have brought them the beer that they drink every weekend. By making the topic of immigration a more personal one, we may allow individuals to think seriously about this issue.
Watch the commercial below.