Expect another Clydesdale Super Bowl ad . . . with a puppy

1/28/2014 12:30 PM
By By Mae Anderson AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - A timely Tweet that was praised. A story of a baby Clydesdale growing up that tugged at heart strings. A Jamaican accent that caused controversy.

In the world of advertising, any publicity can be good publicity. The goal is to get people talking. And there's no bigger stage in advertising than the Super Bowl, which for the last few years has been one of the most-watched events in U.S. TV history with more than 100 million viewers tuning in.

Companies spend millions to create Super Bowl ads they hope will have people gabbing around the water cooler the next day. But the holy grail is keeping them talking weeks, months and even a year later.

This year, dozens of big companies from Pepsi to Chobani are spending an estimated $4 million for a 30-second spot during Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday in hopes they'll do just that. But as they gear up for the biggest day in advertising, they can take lessons from some of the most talked-about Game Day ads last year.

Some Super Bowl themes never seem to grow old for viewers, as Anheuser-Busch learned last year.

The beer maker, which is known for using Clydesdales in ads, last year depicted a Clydesdale growing up with his trainer and then recognizing him years later during a parade in Chicago in a spot called "Brotherhood." Fleetwood Mac's ballad "Landslide" played in the background.

It wasn't easy to orchestrate that ad's emotion. One problem: the company had to wait for a baby Clydesdale to be born after the ad was conceived the summer before.

The company has a horse farm near St. Louis, Mo., where it keeps about 50 Clydesdales. Two mares were in the final stages of a mares' 11.5 month pregnancy at the appropriate time, but they weren't sure which Clydesdale would be born first.

Next, the company considered hundreds of actors to find one who was comfortable around horses. After all, one shot shows the actor sleeping in a barn next to the Clydesdale. "It has to be someone who has grown up around horses, these horses are gigantic. They're super gentle, but if you move the wrong way you're going to get stepped on," Anomaly partner Mike Byrne said.

The work paid off. The spot resonated with fans and was named the top ad of the game by USA Today's AdMeter, an annual ranking of Super Bowl ads.

This year, Anheuser-Busch is sticking with the "cute" theme for its Clydesdale spot, with "Puppy Love," an ad about a friendship between a Clydesdale and a puppy.


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10/31/2014 | Last Updated: 1:16 AM