Budweiser is all-American. Their commercials ooze with patriotism, the company employs thousands of military veterans, heck, even their can is red, white and blue.
But Anheuser-Busch, which makes Budweiser, is starting to get a little worried about the National Football League protests. The company has been a big sponsor for the NFL, and players taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem is creeping them out.
They're so spooked that they've created a way for people to give them feedback on their sponsorship.
If you dial their toll-free line — (800) DIAL BUD — you'll get a recorded message from their home office in St. Louis, Missouri. And right at the top, Option No. 1, is this: “If you are calling with questions or comments about Anheuser-Busch’s sponsorship of the NFL, please press 1.”
When you press 1, the female voice says: “At Anheuser-Busch, we have a long heritage of supporting the nation’s armed forces, veterans and military dependents. The national anthem is a point of pride for our company and for the 1,100 veterans that we employ. Please feel free to share your feedback after the tone.” Beeeeep.
"The new message and option were, reportedly, added after the company’s customer service phone line was temporarily disrupted on Friday due to the volume of calls regarding its NFL sponsorship prompted by social media campaigns," CNSNews.com reports.
"Regarding the call volume, we did experience a spike in call volumes on Friday related to the NFL and believe it was the result of an increase in mentions on social media regarding our consumer phone line," a company spokesman told CNSNews.co.
These are complex issues that require in-depth discussions and nuanced debate. What I can say is that at Anheuser-Busch we have a long heritage of supporting the institutions and values that have made America so strong. That includes our armed forces and the national anthem as well as diversity, equality and freedom of speech. We proudly employ over 1,100 military veterans and we work every day to create an inclusive environment for all of our employees. Because only together can we achieve our dream of bringing people together for a better world.
The NFL and its teams made $1.25 billion from corporate sponsors last year, and the biggies — like Anheuser-Busch, Visa Inc., Ford Motor Co., Nike Inc., Microsoft Corp., McDonald’s Corp., PepsiCo Inc. and Bridgestone Corp. — also made massive bank.
Most sponsors have remained quiet about the anthem protest, with only one — Under Armour — explicitly weighing in by saying it “stands for the flag and by our Athletes for free speech, expression and a unified America.” Kinda' covers all the bases, doesn't it?
But the hashtags #BoycottNFLSponsors and #PunchThemInTheWallet "are circulating on both pro-Trump and pro-player social media. Some fans tweeted directly at the companies, saying they were no longer customers," Bloomberg News reports.
And that's got Budweiser worried. Let's be honest: It must be the advertising 'cuz the beer ain't so good.