Budweiser, a beer brand owned by a Belgian company, will soon appear on shelves with a new name: America.
Pointing to a spate of summer events set to bring out feelings of nationalism, Budweiser said Tuesday that it would replace the word “Budweiser” with “America” on its cans, bottles and packaging from May 23 through the general election in November.
It will be “probably the most American summer of our generation,” said Ricardo Marques, a vice president at Budweiser.
Along with the traditional spring and summer holidays — Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day, this summer will bring the Olympics and the Copa América soccer tournament, to be held in June at sites throughout the United States.
Budweiser is one of the top-selling beers in the United States and has been brewed in St. Louis since the 1800s. Its owner, Anheuser-Busch, is based in St. Louis and was sold to InBev in 2008 for about $52 billion.
The company is far from the first to try to cash in on feelings of nationalism, but renaming the brand temporarily is a new tactic for a company known for spending big on advertising.
The redesigned can will replace each element of Budweiser-specific branding with Americana. The beer’s slogan, “King of Beers,” will be replaced with “E Pluribus Unum” (“Out of many, one”), the words featured on American currency. Instead of a description of the brewing process at the top of the can, there will be lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The new look was designed by Jones Knowles Ritchie, which has offices in London, New York, Shanghai and Singapore.
The design raises the question: When a thirsty American goes to the store looking for Budweiser, would he or she be confused upon encountering America instead?
“We have no doubt that consumers will recognize it in a heartbeat,” Mr. Marques said.
The company may be hoping that the effort is more successful than one ill-fated slogan attempt that was criticized as being tone-deaf toward alcohol’s role in date rape. Last year, as part of its “Up for Whatever” campaign, the beer companyprinted on some of its labels: “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night.” After an online firestorm, the company apologized and dropped the slogan.