If we've learned anything from Super Bowl commercials in the last several years, it's that people absolutely love animals.
Remember the adorable "Puppy Love" Budweiser commercial from last year? Not only did it win the top spot among viewers during the big game, but it has since become one of the most shared Super Bowl commercials of all time, with more than 54 million views on YouTube. Parent company Anheuser-Busch's decision to go with animals follows a track record of success with commercials featuring its iconic Clydesdales, rescue dogs and even a newborn foal.
So it's no surprise that this year's Super Bowl commercials will feature cute animals, with both Anheuser-Busch and GoDaddy promoting their brands with golden retriever puppies. Budweiser's will be a sequel of sorts to last year's hit, with the same puppy everyone fell in love with now lost and in need of help from the Cyldesdales and their owner. GoDaddy's spot will also revolve around a lost puppy, but with racing star Danica Patrick lending an assist.
"We know that puppies hit an emotional chord with people," Barb Rechterman, GoDaddy's chief marketing officer, told USAToday. "Puppies garner more news media coverage. And we want to get the spot watched."
Brian Perkins, vice president of Budweiser, said the company's use of animals is meant to "universalize our storytelling," adding that at the end, it's the brand they hope people remember.
"To us, it's less about puppies specifically, and more about how the Budweiser Clydesdales and their friend, the puppy, help us tell a story around quality our beer," he adds.
A scene from Budweiser's new Super Bowl XLIX puppy-themed ad. (Photo: Budweiser)
The question is, will people walk away with that message — or simply feel good about what they just saw, maybe think about picking up a rescue dog, and then reach for a bottle of some competitor's craft beer instead? As one site dedicated to analyzing beer advertising last year wrote, Budweiser's ads, while heartwarming, just aren't effective at selling actual product.
"The ad doesn't in any way make drinking a Bud more desirable," they said about 'Puppy Love.' "It does not make the beer brand more special than others. It doesn't give the viewer any reason at all to consider, or re-consider, calling for a Budweiser. Sorry for the puppy-buzz kill."
As Budweiser moves to woo millennials, it will be interesting to see if this year's puppy-themed ad will better convince consumers to give the brand a try — or at least to earn praise for its adorable actors.
Look for both spots to air online ahead of Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1