Budweiser, which in 2008 was bought out by a Belgian beer giant to form Anheuser-Busch InBev, has spent millions on advertising to the Latino market. According to a 2009 article in Hispanic Market Weekly, the company spent more than $21 million in the first half of 2008 alone on Spanish language media.
All that advertising has clearly paid off. Just check the advertisements on the wall the next time you go to a Mexican seafood place. If I had a dime for every Bud or Bud Light poster I've seen in some mariscos joint in town, I wouldn't have to write for a living.
So the announcement of a press conference this Monday morning by Somos America, a coalition of pro-immigrant advocacy groups in Arizona, is intriguing to say the least. At the Monday presser, Somos plans to call on all Latinos in the state to boycott Sand Land Anheuser-Busch distributor Hensley & Co.
That's Hensley & Co. as in owned by Cindy Hensley McCain, wife of U.S. Senator John McCain.
Somos' beef with Hensley & Co.? According to the press release, it's the company's "financial contributions to political supporters of the anti-migrant law SB 1070 who continue promoting a climate of fear, hate and criminalization towards the Latino and immigrant community."
Of course, the main candidate Hensley & Co. has supported over the years is John McCain, who flip-flopped during this election cycle from a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform to a no-amnesty border hawk.
Thing is, Somos announced this boycott of Hensley & Co. not long after SB 1070 was signed into law by Governor Jan Bewer, though it's gotten very little play in the media so far.
Can brand loyalty be defeated by such a boycott? The cynical part of my brain thinks probably not. For instance, George Lopez hawking Bud Light on his show (which he has done) has helluva lot of weight. Unless Somos can get Lopez on board.
That said, big corporations don't like any bad publicity or even the slightest cut into their profits. If Budweiser begins to get a bad rep for its ties to McCain, who knows, maybe it'd put pressure on Hensley & Co. to avoid further contributions to Mr. Dang Fence?
Or the company could get Cindy Hensley to divorce our decrepit senior Senator. After all, considering her moolah, she could do a lot better.
The full text of Somos' press release is below:
Somos América Launches Boycott Against Budweiser
Coalition Pledges to Boycott Budweiser Distributor Hensley Co. for Funding Anti-Immigrant Political Figures Who Support SB 1070
The Economic Sanctions Committee of Somos América is asking every Latino in Arizona to boycott Budweiser. Their support of the boycott is a response to Hensley & Co.'s, Budweiser's distributor, financial contributions to political supporters of the anti-migrant law SB 1070 who continue promoting a climate of fear, hate and criminalization towards the Latino and immigrant community.
"I call on all Latinos to stop buying Budweiser until Hensley publicly denounces 1070 and pledges to not support candidates that support the law." Jairo Tellez, owner of local restaurant Vuelve a la Vida
What: Press Conference to announce Somos América's support for boycott against Budweiser Distributor Hensley & Company
Who: Somos America Coalition and community members
When: Monday August 23, 2010 at 10:00 am
Where: J.V.M Seafoods - 35th Avenue and Indian School
Background: The boycott of Hensley was launched by Somos America, a coalition of over 40 Arizona-based organizations, soon after Senate Bill 1070 was signed into law by Arizona Governor Janet Brewer.The boycott committee has identified companies who do business in Arizona that have particularly egregious records of contributing to the climate of fear and hate in Arizona. They have done so primarily by their financial contributions to candidates and organizations that are implementing SB 1070, 287(g), and Secure Communities.
"The intent of the business boycott is notto punish companies by asking our supporters to not purchase their products. It is to get Arizona business to realize that their support of these individuals for even 'strictly business' purposes is creating conditions of hate, fear, and violence against Latinos and immigrants in Arizona", said former Arizona Senator Alfredo Gutierrez.