Oh, Say CAN You See?

On May 30, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson declared June 14th to be Flag Day, a national holiday to celebrate the adoption of the Stars and Stripes design as the official flag of the United States. What prompted Wilson to set aside an entire day to honor our flag? If you’ve ever stood in a crowd, eyes on the flag, and sang the national anthem while chills ran up and down your spine, you get it. The American flag is a symbol that represents this beautiful land we call home. It pays tribute to the men and women who died protecting it.

The American flag is a symbol that tells the story of who we were as a country, who we are, and who we hope to be – but there have also some surprising symbols of patriotism that aren’t quite as traditional. You might be picturing cookouts celebrating the Fourth of July, baseball, or a bald eagle, but what about Budweiser beer?

In 2016, a hundred years after Wilson’s commemoration of our flag, Budweiser was facing years of declining sales for their once popular beer. Not something any brand wants to face. As the team looked at new marketing efforts, they decided to capitalize on the long-standing association Americans have with Budweiser, hot days, and summer holidays. To do that, they stopped selling “Budweiser” beer and began selling their famous beverage with the word “America” written on the can. A bit of a stretch? Maybe. But it worked.

Just what did they change on their iconic can? Here are some of the details (and more here):

  • “Budweiser” changed to “America”

  • “This is the famous Budweiser beer. . .” changed to lyrics from the Star Spangled Banner

  • “Brewed by our original process. . .” changed to lyrics from Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land”

  • “Anheuser-Busch, Inc.” changed to “Liberty & Justice For All”

  • “Trademark” changed to “Indivisible” and “Registered” changed to “Since 1776”

  • “The World Renowned” changed to “Land of the Free” & “Budweiser Lager Beer” changed to “Home of the Brave”

By keeping the same visual design, yet altering the text to extol our country and flag, Budweiser successfully made us want to drink their beer. Because of their decision to keep the new, patriotic design similar to the original, it helped consumers recognize the product as something they were already familiar with. The AmeriCan, as it came to be known, revitalized the faltering public opinion of Budweiser the brand. It looked to persuade anyone who has stood to honor our flag (and enjoys beer) to drink Budweiser.

Americans hold a deep sense of pride in their country. Budweiser knows this and used it to their advantage to revamp their image and increase sales. The lesson here? Creating packaging that strikes a chord with the consumer is always a win.

Want to learn about other factors that can help create a successful packaging design? Check out our certificates, and by enrolling online, you can read up on all the factors that go into the packaging thought process.

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