The Super Bowl is one of the largest television spectacles ever, with Super Bowl LI bringing in an average audience of around “111.3 million viewers”. In fact, Super Bowl LI was the “fifth most-watched TV broadcast in history”, behind Superbowl XLVI, Superbowl 50, Superbowl XLVIII, and Superbowl XLIX. For large companies, the Super Bowl is an Advertising and PR mecca. Hundreds of millions of people will tune in and watch their commercials. Usually these commercials are made to be ridiculous, so that they may be memorable and entertaining for their vast audience. In 2017 though, things were quite different. Due to political and social upheaval involving President Trump and other social issues, many companies decided they needed to make a bigger PR statement with their advertisements. The best example of this would be a Budweiser commercial from Super Bowl LI titled “Born the Hard Way”:
This commercial is about Adolphus Busch, one of the founders of Budweiser, and it tells the story of him immigrating from Germany to America in the 19th century. The commercial shows Adolphus riding the boat from Germany to America, trudging through muddy streets and rain-drenched plains, and even being heckled by people yelling “You’re not wanted here”. Yet, through all these obstacles he finally gets to take part in the idea of the American Dream by starting the Budweiser brewing company.
This commercial was very effective because it utilized a feel-good, underdog story. The story made you sympathize with Adolphus Busch as he struggles to pursue his dream in America. The commercial left you with a good feeling about Adolphus, while in turn associating that good feeling with Budweiser. Budweiser not only used this commercial for branding, it also used this commercial as a very effective PR Statement.
This commercial was also a very effective PR statement because at no time did it try to sell you any product. In fact, you do not see any beers in the commercial labeled “Budweiser”. Instead, Budweiser utilized this commercial to make a statement. Budweiser wanted to highlight the ambition of their founder, Adolphus Busch, and his unrelenting pursuit of the American dream, while also expressing Budweiser’s views on immigration and the newly enacted immigration laws.
In conclusion, this commercial was a very effective PR statement because it showcased a true story about pursuing the American Dream while also helping to brand the company, and express the company’s Pro-Immigration views in a society where immigrants are actively trying to be kept out.