Essay: When Gentlemen Agree... Budweiser
This poster is a sign created by the Anheuser-Busch Company to market Budweiser. Anheuser-Busch produces many different types, their most popular of which is Budweiser. The Anheuser-Busch Company has a market share in the United States and a 2008 study found that nearly 51% of the beers consumed in the US are produced by the Anheuser-Busch Company, most of which were Budweiser or Bud Light.
Budweiser is brewed using barley, malt, rice, water, hops, and yeast. It is then lagered with beechwood chips, which are usually credited for the beer’s unique taste. Despite Belgian—Brazilian beer giant, Inbev, buying out the majority of Anheuser-Busch in 2008, the company still strongly markets its American ties. The company’s origins reflect that of an American dream story. In 1857 Adolphus Busch left his home in Germany and immigrated to the United States. He eventually made his way to St. Louis, Missouri where he started a brewing company. This company eventually transformed into the largest brewing company in the United States and, after the merger with Inbev, the largest in the world. Anheuser-Busch markets Budweiser as the “Great American Lager” and their sponsorships reflect that patriotic image. Budweiser has established itself as one of the most recognizable brands in America.
Budweiser remains the official beer of America’s pastime, Major League Baseball. Budweiser advertisements are everywhere from NASCAR races to the FIFA World Cup. After the end of Super Bowl 50, the championship game for the National Football League, starting quarterback, Peyton Manning, said he was going to celebrate by “drink[ing] a lot of Budweiser tonight.” Budweiser is established as a fundamental American Company and it markets itself accordingly.
This sign was originally created by the Anheuser-Busch Company in 1956 and then was reproduced throughout the 70’s. It is unclear who created the artwork for the sign, but the sign was well circulated throughout the United States. The year the piece was produced, 1956, was a presidential election year in the US. The Republican Party stood behind popular incumbent, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who faced off with former Illinois governor, Adlai Stevenson. The election was a rematch of the election that had taken place four years earlier in 1952. In the advertisement, an elephant and a donkey represent the Republican and Democratic Parties respectively. The two symbols of their parties can be seen clashing their beer mugs together while smiling and seemingly enjoying each other’s company. Especially during an election year when partisan relationships can get extremely tense, Republicans and Democrats rarely exchange in friendly discourse. Budweiser suggests that the two parties can unite over something universally appreciated, like a Budweiser beer.
Budweiser originally introduced the slogan “when gentlemen agree” after prohibition ended in the 1930’s. Budweiser waited to release advertisements until after all other beer companies had produced their ads saying that they were selling beer again. Budweiser then strategically swept the nation with the same advertisement in every major newspaper and publication on the same day. The slogan accompanied with this advertisement was “when gentlemen agree.” The ad featured all of the “good things” in life and suggested that the beer was not simply a beverage, but a lifestyle.
St. Louis Business Journal article
The Advertising Age Encyclopedia of Advertising by John McDonough and Karen Egolf
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