Budweiser is the kind of beer you drink when you don’t want to impress someone, or you just got dumped and need to take eighty cans to the head on the cheap, or you have off on a Tuesday and you’ve already been to the grocery store and finished the laundry and it’s 11:30 in the morning. It’s there, it’s acceptable, and it quiets the voices for a few hours. But this summer, Anheuser-Busch will try to climb up another wrung of the social ladder from “something to puke out” to “the imbibeable embodiment of the entire fucking country.”
That’s right. The Budweiser label will be usurped by an even more recognizable name: America
The first thing that ran through my head and immediately came out of my mouth without even a second of consideration was, “Great, now I have to stop drinking Budweiser.” It is such a transparent marketing maneuver aimed at capitalizing on the fact that every single person in America, from toddlers to the infirmed, will be pounding beer from sunrise to sunset and cheering on this beautiful (not great, it won’t be great again until November) country of ours in the worldwide rochambo match that is the Olympics. Who doesn’t want to yell, “Hey Bobby! Toss me another frothy can of America before the next round of whateverthefuck starts! We’re gonna beat those kraut sons of bitches! Woo!!!!”
And therein lies the problem: I hate the idea of some piece of shit multimillion dollar company exploiting the surge in patriotism in such a half-assed, bullshit way.
“How can we make our beer seem more American?”
“How about we call it “America?’”
“Hahaha but no really what should we do.”
Unfortunately the marketing genius repeated his idea and here we are. As annoying as that whole thing is, it’s really just an example of capitalism. And what’s more American some good ol’ fashioned capitalism where rich people dumb something unhealthy down to sell it to the lower classes? Nothing! So even though it’s annoying, I can’t get too riled up over that. They’re just doing what they do: Sell shit to people and exploit trends to their own gain. If anything, I should be applauding them and writing “I’m not mad at you, just disappointed” letters to the rest of the beer companies.
The thing that really pisses me off, that causes me to stomp my little feet while stringing together a chain of curse words, is that it totally worked. After my initial recoil at the travesty of it all, I realized there’s nothing I want more than to rip into a case of Americas and dance the night away. In fact, it almost feels like I’ve been waiting my whole life for this. I wanna blast the Rocky victory tune, wear a bandana with an eagle on it, and shotgun an America in my front lawn. And the fact that this is possible is simultaneously a dream come true and a nightmare, because it feels like Winston’s final epiphany at the end of 1984: It’s a betrayal to the values and ideals held in my core, but it’s an inescapable truth. It’s a tragedy, but you can’t help the way you feel.
It’s no secret that advertising works. Here’s a milk commercial from 200 years ago that I frequently think about when I’m looking for cream cheese or lemonade. Here’s a song I sing to myself sometimes when I’m walking the dog. And here’s Larry Bird and Michael Jordan fighting over something neither of them (probably) actually eat. Branding goes hand-in-hand with advertising since it’s all supposed to appeal to us on a subconscious level. You wouldn’t eat a something called Bacterially Fermented Milk, but yogurt is being slurped down on an expansive scale in lunchrooms worldwide.
I fucking hate how I can’t have my eyes open without someone trying to sell me something (this is why I wanted to murder the guy that knocked on my door and tried to sell me AT&T internet service [which I already have] while I was napping on the couch and spooning my dog. I can’t even take a fucking nap in my own home without someone trying to weasel me out of money? Fuck you. Fuck you so much for that. And videos that play somewhere on a webpage when all you’re trying to do is read a news story? It makes me want to throw my computer through my wall. At least have the decency to put it at the top where I can mute it if I want. I mean, jesus christ, don’t try to sneak it in there like a shitty tip on a pickup order) but I know it’s just part of living in society in 2016. Like selfies. And emoticons. And youtube covers. The fact that every so often it is completely transparent while remaining effective is probably just a testament to our (my) stupidity and susceptibility to influence. I guess we should be happy we don’t have to be put in the face-cage filled with rats which convinced Winston that he should stop lying to himself, and that we can simply kick back, toast our cans of America, and welcome the incoming monarch that is going to build a fuckin’ wall, help us all quit being such losers, and make this goddamn country great again!
Oh, also, Anheuser-Busch isn’t even an American company anymore. FYI.