Budweiser Tries To Rebrand Itself As “America”

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The original Anheuser-Busch considered itself a quintessentially American company, and it many ways it was. Run by the same family for generations from their mansions in St. Louis, Missouri, in the heartland of America, it was easy for the German-American Busch family to position Budweiser as the ultimate American beer. And they rarely shied away from making such associations. From early on, the Budweiser label was red, white and blue and they used that to their advantage on numerous occasions. During my lifetime, countless times their advertising played on that patriotism, using patriotic iconography in their POS and marketing.

But I imagine this latest campaign may be going a little too far for many people. They filed, and received, label approval on April 11, 2016 from the TTB with application OMB No. 1513-0020 for a new label. That new label will try to rebrand the new Anheuser-Busch InBev, no longer an American company with international roots in Brazil and Belgium, as “America.” No, seriously, they’re actually going to call Budweiser “America,” at least for the summer. According to AdAge:

A-B InBev on Tuesday, May 10, confirmed the limited-edition label change, saying “America” would replace “Budweiser” on the front of 12-oz. cans and bottles. The packaging will run from May 23 through election season in November, the brewer stated. The agency that handled the design change is Jones Knowles Ritchie, New York. The packaging will be accompanied by a summer-long campaign called “America is in Your Hands.” A national TV spot featuring the cans and bottles will premiere on June 1.

And it’s not just that title, the new label is riddled with patriotic associations. It’s an amazing piece of propaganda, and not in any way subtle.

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This is the image that accompanied the TTB label application.

Will this work? Can the international conglomerate poised to swallow up SABMiller — who’s already the world’s largest beer company — be able to convince Americans that they’re still your blue collar friend? That they’re still America’s beer? It feels like a tough sell, but if I’ve learned anything in my five decades consuming advertising it’s that people are incredibly gullible. Many people don’t care who owns Budweiser. Many people don’t care, or perhaps even know, that Budweiser is owned by a ginormous international conglomerate. They’ve been Bud drinkers as long as they can remember, and they have too many other things they care more about than thinking about what beer they’re drinking. I think because we live in such a beer bubble that we sometimes forget that most people don’t care about the industry as deeply as we do.

It seems like ABI has become far more aggressive lately in how they’re trying to position their brand. Part of that seems like desperation at their shrinking market, but being the world’s 25th most valuable brand, worth an estimated $22.3 billion alone (never mind the rest of the company), still makes them the 800-pound gorilla. And that sort of size would make anyone aggressive, with no one else remotely close to their size. I’m certainly curious to see this play out. Will there be a backlash? My guess is no. They’ll be some fiery condemnations on the interwebs, perhaps a few stories on television, and then it will die down. Bud drinkers will just continue drinking their beer of choice. And I’m willing to bet at least a few won’t even notice the change. It will certainly appeal to a certain jingoist bent that many Americans are prone to, the people who believe America is always number one in everything, and anybody who says differently is a commie; the same people who used to say “America, love it or leave it.”

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ABI released a statement today entitled “Budweiser Emblazons America On Cans And Bottles To Kick Off Its Most Patriotic Summer Ever” with the details on their new ad campaign.

America’s No. 1 full-flavored lager is taking its longstanding tradition of patriotic packaging even further this summer by replacing “Budweiser” with “America” on the front of its 12-oz. cans and bottles. The brand is also modifying Budweiser’s iconic label to add copy that is central to American history, including phrases from the Pledge of Allegiance and lyrics from “The Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful.” On shelves nationwide from May 23 through the election in November, these cans and bottles aim to inspire drinkers to celebrate America and Budweiser’s shared values of freedom and authenticity.

Designed in partnership with Jones Knowles Ritchie New York, Budweiser’s bold new look serves as the focal point for its summer-long campaign—“America is in Your Hands”—which reminds people from sea to shining sea to embrace the optimism upon which the country was first built. The “America” cans and bottles will star in the brand’s new national TV spot, premiering June 1.

“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,” said Ricardo Marques, vice president, Budweiser. “Budweiser has always strived to embody America in a bottle, and we’re honored to salute this great nation where our beer has been passionately brewed for the past 140 years.”

The “America is in Your Hands” campaign will come to life this summer during culturally relevant moments where Budweiser will be present, including Fourth of July celebrations, the Copa America Centenario soccer tournament, the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, and events to celebrate the brand’s six Team Budweiser athletes competing to appear in the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The campaign will include billboards, murals, digital content, and retail activations along with additional surprises to be revealed throughout the summer.

Budweiser is also unveiling new cans and bottles featuring a magnified view of the Statue of Liberty’s torch, inspired by Team Budweiser, the brand’s six Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls. On shelves from May 23 through mid-September, the “Torch” packaging will be available in 16-oz. and 25-oz. cans, along with 16-oz. aluminum bottles.

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Is this the new face of American beer? I suspect not, but only time will tell how many Americans will fall for it.

Patent No. 2707827A: Combined Can Holder And Opener

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Today in 1955, US Patent 2707827 A was issued, an invention of Fred W. Petram, for his “Combined Can Holder and Opener.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to can openers and more particularly to a combined can opener and holder.

It is a principal object of the present invention to provide a device which may be efficiently and easily used in opening and holding a can of beer or a can of juice or similar material, the construction consisting entirely of one piece.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a combined can holder and opener of the above type which is adapted to snap on to the upper lip of the can at the end of the device remote from the can opening portion, the latter being resiliently retained against the lower lip of the can with the device intermediate its ends curving outwardly to provide a grasping portion.

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Patent No. 7367670B2: Eyewear Bottle Opener

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Today in 2008, US Patent 7367670 B2 was issued, an invention of Travis E. Duane, for his “Eyewear Bottle Opener.” Here’s the Abstract:

An eyewear bottle opener wherein a bottle opener is housed within the reinforced earpiece of the frame of the eyewear for the convenience of a person wearing the eyewear and desiring to open a bottle having a metal cap.

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Patent No. 2039345A: Screw-Top Bottle Mouth

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Today in 1936, US Patent 2039345 A was issued, an invention of Edward A. Ravenscroft, for his “Screw-Top Bottle Mouth.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to bottle mouths capable of being closed by drawn or molded caps of practical depths ‘and diameters. It resides in a formation of mouth which provides for a pouring lip without materially reducing the area of the throat or increasing the diameter of the required cap, and without necessitating a lowering of fastening means on the neck to such a point that drawn or molded caps .of impractical depths are required for closing.

In forming closures for bottles substantial economies may be erected through the use of cap closures instead of corks. The cap closure is ideal for bottles intended to contain dry or semi-dry substances, but for closing bottles intended to contain liquids, which are to be dispensed therefrom, cap closures known prior to this invention are open to very serious objections. The common screw cap closure is entirely devoid of any pouring lip and the stream emitted from such a bottle mouth breaks during pouring, spreads down the side of the bottle and is so erratic in behavior that it cannot be directed with any degree of certainty. The fluid which flows down the side of the bottle spreads in copious quantities into the threads or other fastening means on the neck and in many cases causes sticking of the cap. In the case of corrosive or poisonous fluids, the fluid on the outside of the bottle constitutes a real hazard; and in any case is decidedly disagreeable.

Attempts have been made to remedy the above difficulties but none of them has been acceptable. One of these attempts proposes the forming of a pouring lip at the top of the bottle, the threads for securing the cap being displaced a relatively long distance down the neck. This necessitates an exceptionally deep cap, which is so expensive to draw that any economy over the use of ordinary corks is impossible. Further, a substantial constriction of the throat of the bottle is involved in this construction which interferes with rapid pouring. In other constructions proposed a notch at the neck of the bottle is employed, the same producing a malformed lip of small effectiveness in producing a good stream and a clean cut-off. In this form the fastening means are placed entirely below the notch and here also a cap of excessive depth is required. In this form a very substantial constriction in the throat also is involved prior to this invention no means of eliminating the same has been proposed.

According to this invention, however, a good pouring lip is provided without constricting the throat to a substantial degree, the same being that the pouring stream is kept thin and in the accomplished without requiring a lowering of the fastening means on the outside of the neck. With the mouth of this invention a cap of ordinary depth may be employed, the same being substantially no deeper nor more expensive than 5 caps used with ordinary closures. There is also provided in this invention a crest concentric with the exterior of the neck so that a gasket in the cap will repeatedly seat to form a good seal.

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Patent No. 2237879A: Display Stand For Beer Bottles

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Today in 1941, US Patent 2237879 A was issued, an invention of William Hinkel, assigned to the Schlitz Brewing Co., for his “Display Stand” for beer bottles. There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to `advertising displays and refers particularly to a display stand for use in displaying bottled goods like beer and other beverages.

In advertising displays of this type, empty bottles must be used; but empty bottles lack the appeal of full bottles. It is, therefore, an object of this invention to provide a display stand so constructed that it imparts the illusion of a full bottle when the display is viewed in the normal manner.

Another object of this invention is to provide a display stand so constructed as to support a plurality of bottles in a novel pyramid fashion.

Another object of this invention resides in the provision of means for securing the bottles in place on the stand so that they cannot be removed or shifted from their proper positions with respect to that portion of the stand which serves to create the illusion of fullness for the bottles.

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Patent No. CN202842451U: Glove Capable Of Opening Beer Bottles

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Today in 2013, US Patent CN 202842451 U was issued, an invention of 张津川, for his “Glove Capable Of Opening Beer Bottles.” Here’s the Abstract:

Provided is a glove capable of opening beer bottles. The glove capable of opening beer bottles is characterized in that the top of the glove is sewn with a velcro, a bottle opener is installed on the glove through the velcro, and the bottle opener can be dismantled. The glove capable of opening beer bottles has the advantages that people can use the bottle opener on the glove to open a beer bottle when the glove is needed, hands can not be frostbitten and the glove capable of opening beer bottles is convenient to use.

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I’m not sure if this commercial example is based on this patent, but it’s certainly pretty close and the same idea.
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Patent No. 2633251A: Palletizer

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Today in 1953, US Patent 2633251 A was issued, an invention of John K. Bruce, for his “Palletizer.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

My invention provides a completely automatic machine for loading pallets. Empty pallets may be fed into one end of the machine, and cartons or boxes fed in from the side and loaded pallets may be delivered out the other end. Not only does my palletizer accurately layer and stack the cartons and boxes, but in addition arranges non-cubic boxes in any selected pattern so that the boxes of different layers will interlock or overlap and provide a stable and rigid stack on the pallet.

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Patent No. 27615A: Corkscrew

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Today in 1860, US Patent 27615 A was issued, an invention of M.L. Byrn, for his “Corkscrew.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

The object of this invention is to manufacture cork screws possessing greater strength and durability and which may be made andL sold at a less cost than those of the present construction.

My invention consists in combining’ with the gimlet screw a T handle and forming the handle and screw in one or in two pieces as will be hereinafter described and represented.

The greatest advantage obtained by my invention, in the combination with an ordinary gimlet-screw of a handle making it serve thereby as a cork-screw, is strength and cheapness, over those made with a spiral twist of steel wire gradually tapering from the handle to the point. Such cork screws can be made to enter a cork with sufficient ease, but they are very liable to break of in drawing the cork from the bottle in consequence of the smallness and brittleness of the wire forming the spiral stem, and too in the hurry of opening bottles the screw is not always driven straight into the cork and the small point is very likely broken off by coming in Contact with the neck of the bottle, besides such screws are used for breaking the wire which is used on many bottles for keeping the cork from being driven out by the force of gas in the bottle, such screws are not strong enough. for this purpose and are frequently broken by the carelessness of servants in using them for other purposes than drawing corks from bottles.

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Patent No. 1020878A: Collapsible Box Or Package

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Today in 1912, US Patent 1020878 A was issued, an invention of Arthur E. Bendelari, for his “Collapsible Box or Package.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

The object of my invention is to provide an improved collapsible rectangular box or package which shall be particularly adapted for holding and shipping beer-bottles, but may be used for other analogous purposes. The box is made from a single sheet of paraffined cardboard, the same being adapted to fold in such manner as to provide interior projecting portions that serve as vertical, diagonal partitions that meet at the center of the box chamber and divide the chamber, or interior of the box, into four equal compartments, each of which is adapted to contain a bottle.

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Patent No. 3870810A: Inhibiting Beer Gushing

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Today in 1975, US Patent 3870810 A was issued, an invention of Anthony Martin Humphrey, for his “Inhibiting Beer Gushing.” Here’s the Abstract:

The present invention provides a method for reducing the tendency of beer to gush by incorporating in the beer 1 to 20 percent based on the weight of iso- alpha -acids in the finished beer of an unsaturated fatty acid having from 10 to 20 carbon atoms. The invention includes hop extracts containing said unsaturated fatty acid and also includes methods of making said extracts.

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