The Ancestry of Budweiser

One of the most controversial Superbowl advertisements of the year was by Anheuser-Busch, the ad tells the story of the immigrant and co-founder of Anheuser-Bush, Adolphus Busch, and his journey to the United States to make beer in the 1800’s. The ad starts off with Busch coming to the United States in a boat. Throughout the advertisement he endures hard times while traveling to St. Louis, for instance, he gets spit on and mocked by Americans, he gets injured and a steamboat blows up that he is on, leaving him stranded in nature with others. At the end of the ad Busch finally meets a kind American who shakes his hand over drinking a glass of beer.

The ad is targeted towards people over 21 who drink beer. The ad is sentimental and inspirational. You feel the pain of Busch and come to understand hardships of being an immigrant in the 1800’s and how hard our ancestors worked to make a life here in the United States. While you feel bad for Busch throughout the commercial, at the end he meets the other founder, “Anheuser”, and it all ends happy. The company is identifies itself at the final part of the ad. Busch shows Anheuser a sketch in his notebook and it is of a bottle of Budweiser.

The advertisement clearly tells a story. It has all of the required acts. The inciting incident is Busch leaving Germany and his normal life behind to brew beer in America. The rising action is all the trials he comes over while in the U.S., such as rude indiviudals who tell him to go back to Germany or the boat blowing up and getting stranded. The climax is when he reaches St. Louis he is greeted by a kind gentlemen coming into town, the scenery changes to look much more positive. The falling action is when Anheuser buys him a beer in the bar and Busch shows him his Budweiser sketch. The Denouncement is when they shake hands and the company logo comes up the screen.

Keith A. Quesenberry studied 108 Superbowl commercials over a two-year span to figure out what made the an advertisement most imactful. Did sex sell the best, or did humor? It turns the advertisements were ones that were complete stories that have the element of 5 acts. These “stories” have a more impactful emotion which make stories resonate with the consumer, making the brand easier to recognize in the future.

There are any Budweiser ads that feature immigrants. Anheuser-Busch uses dogs, horses and humans to create stories that seem very American and have people using good moral and judgements or friends re-uniting. People responded to Budweiser by boycotting the product or speaking out against in on social media because people believed that this story somehow went against American values. (I guess these people dislike their ancestors).

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