Budweiser’s advertisement for this year’s Super Bowl has sparked controversy in the United States, with some viewers interpreting it as a veiled reference to US President Donald Trump’s immigration policy.
The commercial explores a dramatised Anheuser-Busch origin story, paying tribute to German immigrant Adolphus Busch who moved to St Louis, Missouri to pursue his dream of brewing beer.
After receiving a stamp on his immigration papers, the ad shows Busch facing anti-immigrant sentiment and abuse from other residents. He is pushed around and told, “You’re not wanted here … go back home”.
But Busch continues on, eventually meeting his future business partner Eberhard Anheuser and presenting him with a design for a Budweiser beer.
The ad is not an exact record of the company’s origin — Busch did not happen to run into Anheuser in St Louis as the ad suggested, but married the man’s daughter and took over a small brewery acquired by Anheuser.
The story behind Budweiser was also fictionalised, with Busch and liquor importer Carl Conrad developing the lager several years after Anheuser’s death in 1880.
The ad was unveiled on Tuesday, just days after Mr Trump imposed a travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries to protect the nation from “foreign terrorist entry”.
Its subject matter has led some viewers to suspect a hidden political message — a rebuke to Mr Trump’s immigration policies.
Some Trump supporters have called for a boycott as a result while others have criticised the company for trying to make a political statement during the Super Bowl.
“Budlight No thanks … it’s time to #BoycottBudweiser. We don’t need your beer, your opinions, and your illegal immigrants,” one Twitter user wrote.