born the hard way

Born the Hard Way: Budweiser’s New Marketing Campaign

Not going to beat around the Busch I really really dislike AB-InBev, also full disclaimer I really really love craft beer. AB-InBev is a Belgium company that purchased Anheuser-Busch in 2008 making it the world’s largest brewer. However with the craft beer boom in America in full swing, they have been experiencing double digit decline year over year for the past few years. So in 2015 AB-InBev fought back, with an ad campaign called Brewed the Hard Way which poked fun at the craft beer industry and attempted to corral its core base against the incoming wave of craft beer drinkers. I’m one of those craft beer drinkers so I was particularly angry every time I saw one of those commercials on TV but now the new Budweiser commercials are attempting to sucker punch me with the feels in its latest ad Born the Hard Way.

Budweiser’s marketing strategy for the last two years has been to plant itself in the American history books and make Budweiser part of the American ethos, which is interesting because its now a Belgium company albeit brewed in America. The commercial is such a smart move that it has me writing praise for a company whose name I can barely utter without cringing. Born the Hard Way is a flashback moment of one bar patron who remembers his struggle as an immigrant to America while having a beer ordered for him. It quickly chronicles (fictionally) his immigration struggle and attempts to show how the main character Adolphus Busch, began the world’s largest brewery.

Born the Hard Way

The commercial is at it’s core a means by which the company tries to remind people that Budweiser is part of the annals of American history but has a secondary effect (albeit unintended) given today’s social political climate, of being an immigration statement. Ricardo Marquez, VP of Marketing at Budweiser insists “There’s really no correlation with anything else that’s happening in the country” that might be true, being that production on this started early in 2016, but times have changed. One election later and a few presidential orders signed and Budweiser has on its hands a timely immigration story, whether intentional or not.


I’m not an immigrant, nor are my parents or grandparents for that matter, we all are American citizens born in the United States however we are Puerto Rican which gives us a slanted perspective on American immigration. We empathize with those in our culture who have seen the nasty side of American policy, laws and social disdain, as we have experienced some of those too. Born the Hard Way strikes a cord in me that appeals to my more robust idea of American immigration than current American policy suggests. The commercial brought a little tear to my eye (serious) and made me thank Budweiser for making such a statement whether intentional or not.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *