“Brewed the Hard Way” Ad Analysis

By: Megan Malewich

I chose Budweiser’s “Brewed the Hard Way” commercial for the ad analysis assignment.

Budweiser’s aired their “Brewed the Hard Way” commercial for the 2015 Super Bowl. The ad takes a different approach from their usual story telling ad, which often do not spend much time showing their beer. For this sixty second commercial the beer takes center stage as intense up beat music plays in the background. All the while Budweiser contrasts those who drink their beer to craft beer drinkers. The “Brewed the Hard Way” commercial evokes multiple emotions with subliminally images and speaks to the economic influence their beer has in our society.

The ad’s target audience is young adults in their 20’s. Throughout the ad these are the only people shown. Budweiser is a beer drank by the masses, the average joe. With showing large groups of average young adults they are their beer is the common beer. To fit in with the normal crowd, you must drink their beer. Budweiser picks on craft beer drinkers by making them social outcasts. This ad makes being “ordinary” desirable.

This commercial is rich in symbols. The horse and multiple shots of the American Flag give the ad and American feel. To drink Budweiser beer is to be truly American. All people drinking their beer are attractive young people, symbolizing that is the crowd of people that drink their beer. While drinking the non-craft beer, everyone is have a good time and partying. This is saying that to have a good time you must drink Budweiser. Drinking craft beer and “fussing over” and “dissecting” the flavor makes the experience of drinking the competitors’ beers to be a less unenjoyable experience. Drinking Budweiser will make you have fun and to be a part of a fun group of people. Captions like “This is the only beer,” and “This is the famous…,” make the beer to be the most desirable in the industry.

Drinking craft beer has become more popular than ever before. Because of this the Anheuser Busch, the makers of Budweiser, being a “macro beer,” has taken a hit on their sales. This ad cost the company 9 million dollars to help combat their beer rivals while presenting themselves as “proudly, a macro beer”. However, the Anheuser Busch company recently bought out many craft breweries like Green Valley Brewing Company and Elysian, so their attempt to ridicule craft beers is an actually an attack on themselves. The main point of this ad is to show Budweiser as the staple of the American beer culture. The final scene of the commercial is a throwback to on of  their original slogan of “This Bud’s for you.” The slogan since 1979 adds to Budweiser’s attempt to appeal to the masses.

In essence, Budweiser tried to take an approach of commonality in their commercial. While poking fun at craft beers, they presented their beer as a beer for every young person, a beer that will allow you to have fun and be a part of the in-crowd. Psychologically and symbolically the “Brewed the Hard Way” ad presents images that establishes Budweiser as the all-American, good times beer. Economically the commercial represents what the Anheuser Busch company wants their consumer to be, large and not small like the their craft brewery competitors. Budweiser does a good job with depicting a good time, making the average viewer want to drink their beer, however the actual content of the ad is class and is hypocritical.

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