When I first read that Anheuser-Busch InBev, producers of Budweiser, had decided to temporarily rebrand their domestic swill* 'America', I assumed I'd inadvertently stumbled across The Onion. Then I realized that I was reading an actual news story.
* I'm contractually required by the Union of American Beer Snobs to refer to Budweiser in this manner, though it's a generally inoffensive if bland mass market lager.
My very next thought was, "I bet this has something to do with Trump." And according to the presumptive** Republican Presidential nominee himself, it sure does.
** We're also required to call him the presumptive nominee until he actually receives the nomination this summer. This allows the GOP elite to pretend that they haven't let the Wildlings through their party's Wall and into the Seven Kingdoms.
For a blog about William & Mary basketball and dipshittery, I'm pretty proud of what we've written about this election thus far. Our takes on Trump's rise, and the inexplicable and scary rise in the death rate of middle class Americans stand up to at least modest scrutiny, even if they have a few naughty words. Trump has very clearly tapped into a vein of fervent nationalism wrapped in fear of an uncertain future and loathing of the others that seem to be increasingly in charge.
Into this bizarre mix steps Ricardo Marques, vice president of Budweiser. His explanation for the rebranding strains credulity. Says Marques, "We are embarking on what should be the most patriotic summer that this generation has ever seen, with Copa America Centenario being held on U.S. soil for the first time, Team USA competing at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games,"
I would buy this line of marketing bullshit, but for two things: 1) I spin lines of marketing bullshit for a living, and can see it coming from a mile away, and 2) Budweiser drinkers couldn't give two shits about a soccer tournament. Nice try, Belgy McBelgian.
No, this marketing campaign - which may well prove to be brilliant in terms of reversing the slide of America's once-dominant beer brand - is inspired by and catering to the rising nationalism stoked by Trump. And unless I miss my mark, America the brand will amplify Trump the candidate's message throughout the summer, peanut butter to his white chocolate. He'll hold cans up as props at rallies, telling us how A-B InBev recognized the path to America's greatness he promises. His supporters will buy it by the keg in symbolic support of the candidate and the country.
And the shitshow will roll on.
Winter is coming, friends, and I'm not sure anyone can stop it.