Budweiser co-opts a Native American tribe’s slogan and logo — and gets sued
The North Carolina-based Lumbee tribe is suing booze conglomerate Anheuser-Busch and local distributer RA Jeffreys after Budweiser stole both their logo and their slogan—“Heritage Pride Strength”—to use on posters advertising the beer.
Many members of the Native American community found it offensive that Native American symbols were being used to advertise alcohol, given the longstanding but disproved belief that Native Americans are genetically predisposed to alcoholism. Lumbee tribe chairman Harvey Godwin Jr. posted the following message on Facebook:
I want to inform the tribal membership that the Lumbee Tribe did in no way authorize R.A. Jeffries, the local Budweiser distributor, to use the tribe’s logo, website information or an image of a tribal dancer in a recent beer advertisement posted at several area convenience stores.
As alcohol and drug abuse are often associated with Native American culture, the use of the Lumbee tribal brand and an image of a Native American dancer in an advertisement promoting an alcohol product is viewed as particularly offensive to Lumbee People. I made contact with officials today at Anheuser-Busch to resolve this matter.
I will provide an update to the Lumbee People as more information is available. As your Lumbee Tribal Chairman, I vow to make sure those responsible for this offensive ad will be held accountable.
Budweiser hasn’t contented itself with trying to steal the identity of the original Americans; it’s gone after the whole post-1776 crowd as well, recently changing the name on its cans to “America.” That’s pretty funny, considering Anheuser Busch was sold to a Belgian-headquartered multinational in 2008.