Budweiser just made a surprising move. They unveiled a new design that will certainly ruffle a few feathers. In place of Budweiser emblazoned across 12 oz. bottles and cans, the labels now read "America" in the same scripted, trademark font.
Why such a bold marketing move? There's a lot of "America" happening this summer and fall. "We are embarking on what should be the most patriotic summer that this generation has ever seen," Budweiser VP Ricardo Marques said in a press release. Specifically, there's the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics this summer, plus soccer's Copa America Centenario taking place for the first time outside of South America on U.S. soil. And of course the United States presidential election is heating up.
The message is loud and clear: There's nothing more American than drinking beer, no matter who your candidate is. And there's no beer more American than Budweiser. (For the record, its parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev is Belgian-owned.)
AdAge broke the news and announced the cans and bottles will be on shelves from May 23 until the November election. The rest of the label pays homage to other aspects of American history with language like "E Pluribus Unum," "from the redwood forest to the Gulf stream waters this land was made for you and me," and "indivisible since 1776."
Fast Company spoke with Budweiser's branding firm Jones Knowles Ritchie to go into more depth about how the label was designed. "Changing the title wasn't as simple as typing out a new label," they reported. Since the Budweiser typeface is hand drawn, the American also had to be hand scripted to mirror it as closely as possible. Channeling the "same distinctive, swirly aesthetic" was a challenge Fast Company reported.
A patriotic can for the summer isn't new. For the past five years, Budweiser has sold summer-edition cans with packaging that commemorate the season's American holidays. Usually the design involves some combination of stars, stripes and red, white and blue. Last year the Statue of Liberty was featured prominently on the label.
But actually calling the beer "America" is the boldest marketing move yet. The brewer even cleared the new labels with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, AdAge reports. Keep an eye out for Budweiser's "America in Your Hands" campaign and national TV spot, which will air June 1.
So cheers to America! You'll either be drinking an America to celebrate or to mourn the outcome of this election season.