Budweiser's (Topical) Super Bowl Ad Is an Immigrant's Tale

Spot Tells Story of Brand's German Founder Adolphus Busch

Published On
Jan 31, 2017

Editor's Pick

Budweiser is dialing the clock back to 1857 for its Super Bowl ad that tells the brand's origin story. But the tale about Adolphus Busch's arduous journey to America from Germany comes off as very relevant today amid the nation's heated political debate on immigration refugee rights.

Although the 60-second ad by Anomaly might be perceived by some viewers as making a subtle political statement, that was not the intent. Instead the ad, called "Born the Hard Way," is meant to plug into themes of hard work and the pursuit of dreams against tough odds, according to Anheuser-Busch InBev executives.

"This commercial shows the start of Budweiser's journey, and while it is set in the 1800's, it's a story we believe will resonate with today's entrepreneurial generation -- those who continue strive for their dreams," Ricardo Marques, Anheuser-Busch InBev's VP for Budweiser, said in a press release.

"When Budweiser told us they wanted to celebrate those who embody the American spirit, we realized the ultimate story lived within their own brand history," Anomaly Global Chief Creative Officer Mike Byrne stated. "Adolphus Busch is the hero of the Anheuser-Busch American dream story, which makes him the perfect protagonist."

The ad, which was shot in New Orleans, traces Mr. Busch's journey from Germany to St. Louis. He faces insults as he enters America. "You are not wanted here. Go back home," one man yells in a scene that seems especially relevent amid today's politcal climate. He survives a boat fire and slogs through the mud as he enters St. Louis. At the end, he is shown having a beer with AB InBev co-founder Eberhard Anheuser as he shares with him notes for how to create Budweiser.

The ad, which was directed by Chris Sargent at Anonymous Content (who also helmed last year's Budweiser spot), ends with this statement: "When nothing stops your dream this is the beer we drink."

AB InBev in the press released stated the ad will begin Budweiser's "year-long ambition-inspired platform" that will "celebrate those who live life on their own terms and never back down."

The press release issued includes a statement from Steven Busch, the great-great-grandson of founder of Adolphus Busch. "Adolphus would be proud to know we are continuing to celebrate his legacy and his relentless pursuit to create the most iconic beer brand in the world," he said. "It's an honor to follow in his footsteps in the beer business. He lived the American dream and his perseverance, hard work and unwavering commitment to quality laid the foundation for the success of Budweiser and this great company."