Donald Trump

Donald Trump Thinks Budweiser Rebranded as "America" Because of His Political Campaign

The GOP nominee turns the beer company's branding stunt into his own.

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Foter / Gage Skidmore

Yesterday, Budweiser announced that it would rename its beer "America," at least for the next few months, in expectation of what one of the company's executives described as "maybe the most American summer ever." A creative director at the beer company's branding firm further noted that, "We thought nothing was more iconic than Budweiser and nothing was more iconic than America."

This is not a terribly clear or convincing explanation, and it offers no real rationale for potential beer drinkers to choose Budweiser. And yet for the purposes of selling cheap, watery beer, it is probably more effective than simply admitting that this was an empty summer branding stunt.

Donald Trump, however, had a different explanation. On an appearance on Fox & Friends this morning, the Republican party's presumptive presidential nominee suggested that the beer company changed its name to "America" as an advance recognition of the excellence of his presidency.

Introducing the presidential candidate, who was appearing by phone, host Steve Doocy said, "You know somebody who's trying to make America great again is Donald Trump, who joins us on the line. Donald Trump, do you think you had something to do with Budweiser changing the name of their beer for the summer from Budweiser to America?"

Trump responded: "I think so. They're so impressed with what our country will become that they decided to this before the fact." A clip of the segment can be viewed here.

If this were a scene from a satire of contemporary media and politics, it would come across as far too obvious. Even accounting for the necessity of playful-yet-banal introductory banter in situations like these, the exchange comes across as nonsense. It is, however, a revealing kind of nonsense.

First, the host plants the off-the-wall idea that Trump might be responsible for Budweiser's transparent attempt to generate attention through a rebranding stunt. Then Trump plays along, suggesting that, yes, indeed, his candidacy is already making an impact on national character and culture, even before he has won the election.

Trump's argument makes as much sense as Budweiser's explanation for its beer rebranding, which is to say that not only does it makes no sense at all, it does not even rise to the level of attempting to make sense. It is not intended as a coherent argument, but as a momentary pose struck in hopes of generating some attention. It offers no substance, and nothing in the way of specifics to entice potential voters. Like so much of Trump's campaign, it is just gibberish brand positioning, devoid of meaningful specifics.

With the help of friendly cable news hosts, then, Trump used Budweiser's empty branding stunt as a launching pad for his own. Expect a lot more of this as we head into what may be the most Trumpish summer ever. 

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  1. SUDERMAN, PLEASE SEEK HELP.

    it is just gibberish brand positioning, devoid of meaningful specifics.

    let’s remove the beam from our own eye, Suderman, shall we?

    1. Is there a treatment for Trump addiction? Obviously, it’s contagious too, most of the Reason staff have been infected.

      1. Enough about Trump! Let’s talk about someone else. Like Gary Johnson. What does Gary Johnson think of Donald Trump?

        1. I see what you did there.

    2. It does seem strange that Suderman is turning Trump’s stunt into news.

      1. it’s not strange if you view it as one man’s deranged quest to take down Trump by parroting DC Media talking points.

    3. Isn’t the beam in the eye a job requirement for journalists?

    1. That’s the first funny thing you’ve ever said here. I’m sure you were serious though, so it was funny by accident.

      1. Hey look, we’ve got both Weigel and Suderweigel combined on one thread.

        It’s like the JournoList Singularity.

    2. Pay your bet assnugget.

      1. How about in 8% installments, backed by the credit of the Jeb! campaign fund and $600/oz gold?

  2. I mean, 2016 is more and more turning into the year of Idiocracy.

    1. unwatchable, not funny and really bad satire? appealing to people who have mediocre intelligence but think they are kings among men?

      yeah I could see that

      1. Like many things, it’s an okay movie ruined by its fans.

    2. I honestly think we’ve passed up idiocracy already and moved on to something worse.

    3. Budweiser should be rebranded as Brawndo.

  3. You know, I can’t speak for anyone else here. But, I’d be kind of embarrassed if Budweiser associated itself with me.

    1. Trump sustained a traumatic brain injury as a child which left him with a debilitating speech impediment and an inability to feel embarrassed.

  4. Well, it’s a Belgian company that owns that shit water, right? It’s obvious to me that they’re naming it America so that no one will mistakingly think something that horrible was made by Belgians.

  5. for the purposes of selling cheap, watery beer

    As someone who’s did work for AB in the distant past… Budweiser Premium (the brand) spent far more $ on “quality ingredients” per-bottle sold than many of the beers people consider Elitist European Imports. (e.g. Heineken, Stella, etc)

    Yes, they used rice as filler. But it was actually by intent rather than than as a cost-cutting measure.

    Yes, it tasted no different than most cheap swill, but it was in fact a pretty rigorously ‘quality controlled’ product compared to most beers.

    most of what people consider ‘fancy beer’ doesn’t actually cost more to make or have more exclusive ingredients; its just a different process, and has different shelf-stability.

    1. *footnote = i can’t speak to post InBev takeover

    2. And yet, America still cannot make a decent lager. Even Canada and Brazil can come close to European lagers, but all American lagers taste like water with some noxious chem like formaldehyde in it.

      1. America still cannot make a decent lager.

        (shrug)

        I don’t know about that. There’s plenty of regional beer still, and i’d guess someone somewhere probably would meet your standard-of-excellence. Its not so much that US brewers can’t make X; its that no one buys X, so they make Y. Blame the drinkers.

        This is doomed to become a beer-snob-thread, isn’t it.

        1. *throws empty IPA bottle at Gilmore’s door*

        2. No, there are none. All of the American micro-brewery lagers are mislabeled. Those are PA or IPA. The major breweries lagers should be labeled ‘shit water, don’t drink me’. Not sure who’s fault it is, but if I could buy a American lager like Stella for half the price, I’d be doing it.

          1. “All of the American micro-brewery lagers are mislabeled”

            Given that there are currently 4000 breweries/brewpubs in the US, I doubt that every single one of them that sells lagers is actually selling IPAs.

          2. Stella is your answer to ‘decent lager’?

            Meh.

            Have you tried this?

            A much better lager than Stella.

            1. No, but I taste an IPA just looking at it.

              1. I like a good IPA, but this isn’t even close.

              2. I think you need to read up on what distinguishes ale from lager.

            2. OMG Stella is crap. Total crap.

              Are we not counting Sam Adams as a good American lager?

          3. if I could buy a American lager like Stella for half the price, I’d be doing it.

            yeah, but as my point above = Stella is actually pretty shit.

            If you’re a Lagerphile, I think Grolsch or Pilsner Urquell or something would be more appealing.

            I personally like Japanese dry lagers. I like the aftertaste, and shouting “Banzai!!” at random.

            1. The US Pilsner Urquell is cruddy compared to what I got over in Hungary. This angers me.

              1. Fun fact =

                you get a ‘free’ liter of Pilsner Urquell when you take the “History of Brewing” tour at the Plze? brewing museum.

                the fee was like $10… but here’s the thing. You can take the tour over and over again.

                I went there in 1992. In the ‘tour group’ were some already-sauced dudes who kept telling us, “just get back in line afterward”.

                It was a thing. I think i managed 4 before i was like “ok, enough of this”.

                I urinated off the top of the highest church tower in West Bohemia. I have a photo of that somewhere. I’ll see if I can find it.

            2. I like both Grolsch and Pilsner Urquell. But I have to be in a certain mood. All of those are more bitter than Stella.

          4. I’m pretty sure that breweries aren’t labeling ales as lagers. It’s a quite different brewing process. Pretty hard to mistake one for the other if you are making the stuff.
            You don’t see a lot of craft brew lagers largely because they are harder to make.

            1. It takes longer and so you have to take up lots of space to store (lager) all that beer

        3. For the love of God when will this over-hopping of beers end? Fucking hipster millenials. My generation is a bunch of nitwits.

          1. And they’re going to be drinking their overly hoppy beer while voting for Bernie. Let that sink in for a moment.

          2. When will you people accept that people actually do like hoppy beer? Don’t fucking buy it if you don’t like it.

        4. any mention of Budweiser dooms a thread to become a beer snob thread. I refuse to even bring up the subject of beer anymore anywhere, because the elitists are so fucking insufferable.

          1. We could talk about gaming or abortion.

            1. What kind of beer pairs best with an abortion drinking game?

              1. Only the quantity matters in that case.

              2. Red Stripe?

                1. We have a winner!

              3. Dunkels, hellesbocks, Belgian strong golden ales, weissbocks, and saisons pair well with veal.

                1. Damn, i could go to town on some frosty saisons right now.

                  1. There’s a place in town that makes actual lagers and other German styles. Their hefeweizen is delicious.

                    1. My favorite local brewery has been dialing back the IPAs in favor of saisons and sours lately, and i couldn’t be more thrilled.

                    2. You don’t like hoppy beers but like the abomination that is sour beer? This is beer that used to be thrown away because it got contaminated. I guess one day someone got the idea to market their ruined batch of beer as the next big thing.

      2. I personally like Sam Adams Lager. But, it’s definitely not a European style lager.

        1. I really like their ale.

        2. I like it too, but what you already said.

          1. One of the best beers I’ve ever had is made here in Murika, in Michigan. But it’s a heffe.

        1. Well that Schlitz is certainly some good stuff, lol.

          1. They still make that?!?!?

            1. Yes, I see it all of the time in the local carry out. I remember it being pretty awful back in the 80s, when I couldn’t afford good beer.

              1. Wow, I don’t think I’ve seen any in the store since the 80’s. Then again, I’m not really looking for it either.

                1. I have to walk past that section on my way to the non-paupers beer section. I think I wouldn’t notice it except that the first time I was in there, I didn’t know where anything was at, so I was scoping out their inventory. I noted that there were a few domestic beers in there I haven’t seen in a long time. I can’t recall what any of the others were right now, I only remembered the Schlitz after seeing it on that list.

            2. drink schlitz or I’ll Trump’ll kill you

          2. They had to stop selling beer at the beach, because the girls kept getting sand in their Schlitz.

          3. Every other letter.

            1. Fo Shiz!

        2. #3 on that list is Hauenstein.

          I was convinced that there was only 72 bottles available of that beer.

          My grandfather bought it in returnable bottles and rotated one case at home one for turn-in and one for pick-up.

      3. Agreed. The mass market lagers here are nearly tasteless and our “craft brewers” seem to think that the main ingredient in beer should be hops.

        1. That’s because hops are delicious.

      4. Keep in mind that Hyperion likes his beer in clear bottles /breaks the sound barrier running away

        1. Green bottles. I know everyone likes to make fun of me for liking Heineken. I don’t care, I can take the abuse.

          1. Green glass is the debbil!

              1. Especially Rolling Rock.

    3. My guess is that the major distinction for Budweiser Premium is that, like Stella or Heineken, it’s so mass market that it has to give up uniqueness or any specialness in taste for bland, lowest-common-denominator, consistency.

    4. Sam Adams founder has mentioned that he couldn’t possibly brew as much beer as AB with as strict a quality control.

      It is a feat of industrial engineering.

      1. Yeah, that was pretty much my point. Bud also spent more than they needed to on their shitty beer, purely as a matter of corporate pride. People think of that stuff as pure marketing, but they were like nazi-rocket-scientists with their attention to the quality level of ingredients and the process controls.

        I interviewed jim koch back in the 1990s shortly after i got my first analyst gig, and he sort of helped fill me in on a lot of stuff about the industry. At the time he was still growing leaps and bounds and was very-accessible and open to people like me. He himself had worked for Boston Consulting Group for years, so he totally appreciated how to sell a story to the street even years before he went public.

        Also helpful to me in those early days was Augie Bush IV, who at the time was i think only a little older than me and working in marketing. He later became CEO and was in charge when the company got sold.

  6. I actually think he may be right this time. Not because it’s “an advance recognition of the excellence of his presidency.”. But, why not tap into all the nationalism coming out of this election cycle. Especially when the brand in question was bought by a foreign company a few years back. Wouldn’t want to get caught up in all of Trumps anti-free trade policies. I mean, how can you slap a tariff on a beer named America?

    1. Trump is trying to tax America!

  7. I’ll take Trumpenbeer over the 2008 Obama halos any day.

    1. I assume he just takes Budweiser’s America cans and refills them with Coronita.

    2. Trumpenbeer? You mean L?wbr?u or Heiniekin?

      1. Trump drinks Heineken? He’s a better man that I thought.

        I think shreek nailed it though, with Trumpweiser.

      2. I think Shock Top works well for him

        1. I lol’d

  8. So, do we get America Light too? America Lime?

    1. Just what I wanted, a shitty foul tasting beer made even fouler with some fake lime flavor. I’m getting diarrhea just thinking about it.

      1. Mmm..American Lime. Now there’s a beer I can float down a river to.

        1. These masturbation euphemisms are getting pretty abstract.

        2. Have you had on of the malt liquor margaritas by Bud? Foul, vile stuff. It smells like acetone and goes down like a bum pissing on your soul.

          1. like a bum pissing on your soul

            Thank you, I needed that turn of phrase for something at work today.

            1. Got a meeting, eh?

            2. I, too, shall use that. A lot.

          2. On a whim, i tried one of those Limearitas at a cookout. It put me off alcohol for the rest of the day and made me feel kind of sad.

            1. I just smelled the Strawberry one. Diabetes in a can.

    2. America Cheladas. That’s what I want.

  9. Allow me to advance the hypothesis that Trump was *joking.*

    In the clip, the journalists were laughing it up and having a good time, maybe Trump was feeding into that – “sure, they named it after me.”

    It is remarkable how each side thinks it has a monopoly on humor, while the other side is assumed to be literalistic and humorless.

    1. It’s not just humor. I got a kick out of this headline this morning. “Chris Matthews: Democrats Care About Issues Americans Do Not” And, lets not forget George Clooney a few weeks back taking about money in politics and Citizens United. “The Koch brothers would profit if they get their way and that’s what, you know, there’s no profit for us in this.”

    2. It is remarkable how each side thinks it has a monopoly on humor, while the other side is assumed to be literalistic and humorless.

      Neither side perceives the other as human, so this makes sense.

    3. while the other side is assumed to be literalistic and humorless.

      The other side consists of Hillary and Bernie, so not a significant stretch…

      1. Yeah, but think how the comedian profession is top-heavy with progressives.

        Hillary and Bernie don’t need to be funny when all those comedians are out there being funny on their behalf.

        (maybe I should say “funny”)

  10. “Let’s make Budweiser great again!”

    1. it never stopped being great.

      1. …FOR ME TO POOP ON.

      2. This has to be someone’s sockpuppet, right?

        1. lighten up, Nutrasweet.

    2. “I just have to drink a couple Budweisers, and a few minutes later I can piss across the length of a football field. God bless America!”

  11. Doesn’t everyone know anheuser busch is now inbev? This is cynical as fuck. People are stupid. I want cake.

    1. At least some of us know it. Big beer, now made by the Kochtopus of brewing! They put stuff in that beer to turn you into a capitalist pig! Oh noes, it worked on me!

    2. They still employee a shit ton of Americans.

  12. Trump is trolling Suderman.

    1. will they actually have time to crack out the butterfly nets for Peter when Trump wins, or will he have already flung himself from his squat Georgetown brownstone by then?

  13. Budweiser announced that it would rename its beer “America,” at least for the next few months until we figure out what’s going on.

    FTFY

  14. The New Republic is already blaming this promotion on Trump, so I don’t see any point in him not embracing it and triggering these people further.

    1. No worries for InBev, no one at New Republic or their readers drink beer. They drink soy and tofu lattes.

      1. And organically grown, artisanal cocaine.

  15. How appropriate: a shitty beer and a shitty candidate

  16. I wonder how many Reason writers are going to be referring to The Donald as ‘President’?

    They may as well get warmed up already.

    1. It would almost be funny just to see the dramatic change in tone around here, though I suspect half of them might investigate moving to Ottawa or something.

      I guarantee we wouldn’t see the phrase “libertarian moment” again for years.

  17. Trump Light Ice Lime Dry

  18. This is an example of why it’s called “Reason” magazine instead of “Smart.” The vast majority of people do not use logic to choose which beer to drink or whom to vote for. Trump’s marketing genius is on full display here. He’s going to trounce Hillary.

    1. Umm…DRINK!?

  19. Are you single tonight? A lot of beautiful girls waiting for you to http://goo.gl/pI9ucn
    The best adult dating site!

    1. Can you pick them up with a 6 pack of AMERIKA BIER?!

  20. Actually, I suspect that Trump’s campaign may well have something to do with Budweiser’s marketing stunt. Not because “They’re so impressed with what our country will become”, but simply because his nationalistic fervor, and specifically his “Make America great again” slogan, have impressed themselves on everybody’s consciousness. It is largely Trump supporters who will want to buy a product labeled “America”, who will think that such a label makes the product “great”, even if the company making the product is based in Belgium.

  21. So? will Czech Budweiser be called Budweiser in the US now?

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