Budweiser’s forthcoming release of patriotic packaging for the summer season could set off fireworks in more ways than one.
This year’s special edition places the word “Freedom” on the logo where “Budweiser” would normally reside, recalling a wildly successful 2016 edition that used the word “America” in the same way. The brand says the package is intended to celebrate unity, but some industry experts are interpreting the message quite differently: In today’s fraught political environment, they said, the word “freedom” has become loaded with uncomfortable subtext, recalling everything from mask controversies to the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court leak, and become a symbol instead of struggle and division.
“Freedom is a loaded word, with many connotations, both positive and negative—especially in today’s cultural context,” said Denise Lee Yohn, a brand marketing expert and author. “Case in point: The potential reversal of Roe v. Wade ruling and the topic of a woman’s freedom to choose is very top of mind right now.”