- Budweiser released a digital video, "Go Fourth, America," that recreates Bill Pullman's iconic speech in the 1996 blockbuster "Independence Day," per a press release. Instead of preparing fighters for combat against aliens, Pullman's speech now encourages U.S. consumers to unite and celebrate the Fourth of July as a testament to the country's progress against COVID-19.
- While the country will fall short of President Biden's goal of getting 70% of adults partially vaccinated by the holiday, Budweiser will still deliver on its promise of a free beer — in the form of a virtual debit card worth $5 — as a "reward" for the country's vaccination progress. The brand is also giving away $10,000 via a social media sweepstakes and Venmo to help consumers throw an "epic" Fourth of July party.
- Budweiser parent Anheuser-Busch continues to assist with vaccine awareness efforts as consumers are returning to pre-pandemic activities despite the stalled progress of the rollout. Along with its nostalgic, patriotic overtones, the video also highlights an unspecified donation by the brand to Direct Relief, which focuses on enabling access to vaccines in the U.S. and abroad.
Budweiser's "Go Fourth, America" effort taps into nostalgia for "Independence Day" as the 25th anniversary of the film's release nears. Several brands have embraced nostalgia for classic movies over the past few years to craft blockbuster ads that feature actors reprising iconic roles, including Jeep ("Groundhog Day"), Ford ("National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation") and DieHard batteries ("Diehard").
In Budweiser's effort, Bill Pullman — billed as "America's Favorite Former President" — reworks his iconic pre-battle speech to allude to the pandemic and the country's vaccination rollout, rather than alien invaders. The message of the video is one of unity between Americans — whether they drive a pickup or a hybrid, live in the heartland or the coast, or pronounce it "America" or "Amurica" — encouraging them to "come together to lend a hand to those less fortunate." While it never mentions the pandemic or vaccines, Pullman's speech alludes to working together so "everyone can come to the party" after a year of separation.
While the video's jingoistic tone is true to Budweiser's brand voice, it is not a natural fit. Increased political polarization has imperiled the vaccine rollout, and shoehorning the film's use of Independence Day as a unifier of humanity against aliens is awkward in the context of a pandemic and vaccine rollout that is far from united or equitable globally.
Budweiser's video and decision to make good on its "round on us" promise comes as the U.S. will fall far below of President Biden's goal of having 70% of adults partially vaccinated by the Fourth. Still, the free beer offer — and continued charitable donations — could generate some goodwill for the brand as consumers prepare to celebrate the holiday in-person this year. The opportunity to claim a virtual debit card for a free beer is available to consumers from July 2 at noon until July 5 at midnight at the MyCooler.com/beer website.
"Go Fourth, America" is Anheuser-Busch's latest effort to help raise vaccine awareness. Earlier this month, the company rolled out digital count-up vaccine trackers and other media to prepare consumers for a safe return to normalcy as part of its "Let's Grab A Beer" initiative. Previously, Budweiser offered free beer to 10,000 consumers who proved they got vaccinated.