When America joined World War II in 1941, the government almost immediately instituted a rationing program that limited products people could buy at any one time. But just because people couldn't go out and buy products like before, that didn't stop major brands such as General Motors from advertising. Many used the moment as a brand-building opportunity, portraying consumers' sacrifice—and the companies' involvement in the war effort—as patriotic. In one 1944 print ad, General Tires actually reminded consumers about a tire ration, instead of encouraging them to buy war bonds.
Fast-forward 80 years, and the country is in the midst of another emergency situation. And while there isn't any product rationing, over the past year there have been limitations on how we use and enjoy our favorite products. You can watch sports, just not in the stadium. You can go to a party, but it's on Zoom. You can drink beer, just not indoors with other people.
Lately, more brands have been hyping their products, and how we use them, as motivation to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Uber and Lyft have offered free rides to vaccination clinics. Krispy Kreme is giving away free doughnuts to the freshly vaccinated. And now Budweiser has released a new spot that uses tantalizing photos of beer-drinking good times to remind us what that needle is really for.