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Budweiser Super Bowl commercial tells touching New Orleans tale

For many viewers, the highlight of the Super Bowl is the commercials. Budweiser has advertised during the big game for decades, and the popular beer brand has also never been afraid of putting a political message in its ads, and this year it tells a story that came to our shores in New Orleans. The ad has tackles one of the hot button issues in the country in immigration.

Budweiser named its 60-second commercial “Born the Hard Way,” and it begins with Adolphus Busch traveling on a boat from Germany to the United States to fulfill his dream of brewing beer. He arrives in New Orleans, and immediately endures anti-immigrant comments, such as “You’re not wanted here.”

The commercial then follows Busch’s journey through the country, as he goes up the Mississippi River and eventually makes it to St. Louis. He ends up meeting a stranger in a bar, and they share two beers together. Busch then shows the stranger a sketch he has drawn of what would become the Budweiser logo and says that next time, they’ll be drinking that beer. The stranger then introduces himself as Eberhard Anheuser to end the commercial.

Budweiser came up with the commercial idea eight months ago, well before President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from certain predominantly Muslim countries. However, immigration and “radical Islam” were two significant points throughout Trump’s entire campaign, so it’s possible, and also likely, that the 2016 Presidential Campaign influenced Budweiser’s latest commercial.

The commercial has a clear pro-immigrant message, as it demonstrates how important immigrants are to the United States. It also shows how many people are negative towards immigrants for no good reason, and the many obstacles immigrants must often overcome to succeed.

Budweiser shot the commercial in New Orleans, which is true to the story of the Busch. He arrived in the port of New Orleans at only 18 years old, and then made his way to St. Louis, just like in the commercial. Budweiser also shot the commercial’s St. Louis scenes in New Orleans.

The beer manufacturer likely chose to shoot the entire commercial in New Orleans for a few reasons. Obviously, it costs less money to shoot the entire commercial in one place, and it already had a $1.2-million price tag on in-state costs, along with the millions it will cost to air it during the Super Bowl. New Orleans is a versatile location that can provide an accurate setting for the entire commercial. Most importantly, the scene with Busch’s entry into the United States is by far the hardest hitting emotionally, so it makes sense to make that scene historically accurate.

As I see it, Budweiser brings its A-game every year when it comes to its Super Bowl commercials, and this may be its most significant commercial yet. After a drop in ratings last year, this Super Bowl is expected to set viewership records. In “Born the Hard Way,” the brand sends a clear message while also celebrating the American spirit. Not everyone will like it, but they will take notice of it, and in New Orleans we know the importance of embracing someone, especially when it involves a cold drink.

Kelley Crawford is a professor, writer, mentor, dancer, and constant questioner. If you would like to contact Kelley Crawford, you can email her at kelley@nolavie.com.