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Budweiser Super Bowl 2017
Credit: Courtesy

The most noteworthy ad released in advance of the 51st annual Super Bowl may also prove to be one of the most controversial. It’s certainly the timeliest.

Budweiser’s “Born the Hard Way,” a dramatized account of Anheuser-Busch co-founder Adolphus Busch’s voyage from Germany to St. Louis in 1857, is meant simply to “celebrate the American dream,” according to a corporate press release, but in today’s political climate, hot on the heels of President Donald Trump’s travel ban, it can easily be interpreted as a pro-immigration message.

Upon arriving in America after a grueling journey by sea, immigration papers in hand, our protagonist is met with gibes from boorish men who shout “You’re not wanted here!” and “Go back home!” Shaken but undaunted, the young immigrant slogs on, eventually reaching his destination—and a friendly face who welcomes him to St. Louis.

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Of course, the ad was filmed before last week’s suspension of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and even before the presidential election itself (filming took place last October, according to The Los Angeles Times), so Anheuser-Busch cannot be given credit—or, depending on how you look at it, assigned blame—for taking a political stand. Indeed, if there is a real backlash, the beer giant may wish they had trotted out the Clydesdales as the centerpiece of their ad after all.

But the original intention of Anheuser-Busch is beside the point. The fictionalized retelling of Busch's experience is an inspiring story of hope, and continues the discussion on what it means to be an American.

Super Bowl LI, between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons, takes place in Houston and airs on Fox this Sunday at 6:30 p.m. EST.