All posts tagged: America

Why Budweiser’s “America” Rebrand Matters

Yesterday, Anheuser-Busch announced plans to rebrand Budweiser as “America” from late May through the November elections. Citing upcoming events like the 2016 Olympic Games, the Copa América soccer tournament (which will be held in the US for the first time), and the fall’s presidential election, Ricardo Marques, a vice president at Budweiser, declared it will “probably the most American summer of our generation.” It’s an event that Anheuser-Busch is keen to capitalize upon, though the invocation of “our generation” is interesting as “Millennials” (if we even exist as something more than a marketing category) are some of the least likely consumers to be purchasing packs of “America” this summer. Relatedly, Anheuser-Busch aims “to inspire drinkers to celebrate America and Budweiser’s shared values of freedom and authenticity.” This latter value seems particularly contentious given the ever-increasing market share of craft beers, which trade upon (perhaps equally constructed) notions of authenticity, identity, and lifestyle. Budweiser has directly targeted this tension, as their 2015 Super Bowl spot and subsequent ads throughout the year spread a distinctly anti-craft message, which can’t be separated from the brand’s subsequent claims to Americanness. Anti-craft messaging aside, this rebranding of a national …

The Cheesecake Factory: America at Her Best—and Her Worst

With a castle-like façade, a phone-book-sized menu, and massive portions, The Cheesecake Factory aptly represents all-American abundance. Beginning with its name, The Cheesecake Factory, this chain restaurant builds not upon a tradition of artisanal craft, but of mass production. The interior continues this theme. A mash-up of ancient Rome, Medieval England, and today’s Las Vegas, the restaurant interior features ridiculously high ceilings and nearly comedic interpretations of Corinthian columns, projecting an exaggerated view of middle class luxury. The spiral-bound laminated pages of the menu boast more than 200 selections, representing a variety of ethnic traditions from pasta marinara to miso salmon—not to mention chicken teriyaki, di pana, madiera, picatta, and marsala, to name but a few. Half the menu features this multitude of food options, while every other page features advertisements. With restaurants often located in or near shopping centers and malls, The Cheesecake Factory menu seamlessly links the dining experience to the consumerist activities outside the restaurant. With heavily weighted cutlery, diners dig into meals served on boat-like plates, complemented by stein-like glasses better suited for …