Budweiser debuts ad campaign trying to establish itself as ‘the Brooklyn choice’

Budweiser debuts ad campaign trying to establish itself as 'the Brooklyn choice'
Via @oneouncegold on Instagram.

Budweiser is a beer that is perfectly fine to drink when it’s the only thing in the beach cooler or when you’re trying not to get too drunk or when you’re at a music festival and it’s all they’re serving, despite the fact that the festival charges $9 for a single bottle. But it is not very “good” or offering up much “taste,” and, as a brand based out of Belgium and worth $23 billion, it is certainly not very “authentic” to Brooklyn.

Advertising is a land of magical thinking that believes if you throw enough money at an idea you can make anything true, and that’s how we have this new Budweiser billboard (first spotted on Instagram by Meghan) in Bushwick. It’s part of their “Respect the Hustle” campaign seeking to “establish Budweiser as the Brooklyn choice,” which seems about as likely to succeed as trying to establish Papa John’s as the New York pizza choice. What does Budweiser have to do with freelancing, hustle or Brooklyn, exactly?

The Respect the Hustle campaign comes from Brooklyn-based creative director Vasili Gavre, who lays out the rest of the advertisements here, which he writes were created with the goal to establish the brand as the Brooklyn choice, whatever that means. They include slogans such as “Brooklyn at work, “Brooklyn earns its happy hours” and “make your own job title.” It is entirely unclear why Brooklyn’s freelancers and hustlers would find their ideals sympatico with a company whose hyper global presence, aggressively bland product and endless advertisements crammed in between football games and truck commercials don’t seem to have anything to do with working hard or making your own way.


Via Vasil Gavre.
Via Vasili Gavre.

It’s also a weird move for a company who, instead of ever making their product even a tiny bit better, has instead sought a bunch of sartorial adjustments over the years that do not improve the taste: making this stupidly shaped can and renaming its beer “America” this summer, for instance. In fact, they seem to actively disdain this Brooklyn hustler market they’re now targeting: remember the Super Bowl ad that mocked craft beer in favor of their own macro-brew burp water? Then last year, the brand set up a fake blind taste test at a Brooklyn bar to prove that, I guess, Brooklyn residents are a bunch of idiots who should just drink Budweiser anyway.

Drink Budweiser if you want to, we’re not your beer doctor. But when a company like Budweiser tries to use advertising to try to appeal to you using nothing more than arty photography without a reason or cause, then we should all shake our heads and choose something else out of the bodega.

Since this is our wheelhouse (the intersection of hustling + beer), here are Brokelyn’s picks for the “Brooklyn choice” of beers:

-Any and all Brooklyn Brewery products: The first modern brewery in Brooklyn supports all sorts of events and good causes around the borough, and makes beer that actually tastes good. Plus, their brewery kickstarted the whole Brooklyn renaissance in the ’80s. People at the time told founder Steve Hindy that he was crazy because no one would drink a product with “Brooklyn” in the name.

Narragansett: The New England staple has become a go-to choice for New Yorkers since it arrived in the city a few years ago. It’s decent, comes in big cans, tastes refreshing and doesn’t cost that much. Some jerk at the Post last year even declared it had taken over for PBR as the default cheap beer of choice in the city.

-High Life: Yes it’s made by Miller, also a gigantic beer company, but it is the champagne of beers after all, if by “champagne” they mean something you can drink 20 of and not really feel drunk but have to pee a lot.

Modelo: Cheap, palatable and ubiquitous. It’s the “that’ll do” beer.

-Simpler Times: The Trader Joe’s dirt-cheap beer packs a wallop, will get you drunk enough to forget that your freelance is actually waaaay more than full time.

So tell us, Brooklyn full-time freelancers and everyone else: What beer do you reach for after a hard day of hustling? 


  1. Conal Darcy

    Um, Coors 24 oz. Banquet cans are a $1.50. Budweiser 25 oz. cans are $2-$2.25.

    It’s clear the former is the best choice of the freelancer, who is paying an extra 20-25% in income taxes because Corporate America.

  2. jimstolz

    Surely they can spam one of these into reality near the intersection outside of Union Pool under the BQE. Just need some good ad copy alluding to the fact that that 2 for $5 Budweisers frequently leads to sketchy bathroom sex with strangers. Spread herpes. It’s the Brooklyn way.

  3. raz0rw0rk

    Wait wait wait. I moved out of the Bushwick area two years ago or so (to the beautiful Bay Ridge!) but I believe their beer d’etre is still PBR.

    Did something change or did I just get too old?

    • Chase

      Whoop there it is! Way to throw a great designer under the bus because you don’t agree with the people paying him to do work. Respect where respect is due, and it’s certainly not due to you, Mr. Donnelly.

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