As some of you know, I recently partnered with Budweiser on their "Alberta Made" campaign. It kicked off last month in conjunction with the Calgary Stampede, and things have rolled out in the weeks since—including a commercial featuring yours truly. A few of you (including some local craft brew enthusiasts) have questioned why I did the commercial so I thought I would try to explain why this decision made sense to me.
I grew up in a rural setting; I’m from a ranching family that has been heavily involved in pro rodeo for four generations. Budweiser has been a major sponsor of Canadian rodeo for decades—including the Calgary Stampede, in which I competed as a kid, along with my parents, grandparents, and several relatives. I associate Budweiser with Canadian cowboy and rodeo culture; it’s what a lot of my friends and relatives choose to drink back home and a lot of the Canadian rodeo people I know drink it, too. I have a very diverse audience and I realize that some of my listeners who didn’t grow up in the same rural setting as I did may not understand this connection. Though Budweiser is an international company, they employ hundreds of Albertans and I respect the years of support they’ve given to Western life here in Alberta and to a sport that’s been central to my family for as long as I can remember.
Having said that, I’m also a strong supporter of Alberta small business (I run one myself), and that extends to craft breweries. Just because I support one thing doesn't mean I oppose the others; I'm a fan of Alberta's microbreweries, and I've had many hangovers to thank them for. I admire their passion and dedication to their craft, and I know what it's like to be the little guy trying to beat the odds.
Despite what some might think, I didn’t participate in this campaign for the money; I did it in effort to reach more people with my music. In this day and age, partnering with major brands can be one of the last effective ways for artists—especially those such as myself who aren't on major labels—to reach new listeners. I’ve spent years playing shows all over Alberta, yet there are still a lot of people here who don't know my music. So when Budweiser approached me about the “Alberta Made” campaign, it felt like a good fit. Meanwhile, I’ve worked very hard to hone my craft over the years, and I think anyone who's familiar with my stuff would attest to the fact that I write songs exactly how I want to write them, not for radio play or commercial success. I’ve conducted my career as ethically as I could muster every step of the way.
At any rate, I hope this clears the air a little and helps explain why partnering with a high profile brand with strong ties to Canadian rodeo and Western culture makes sense for me. Thanks for listening.