Super Sunday presented a huge competition between monster corporate powerhouses spending millions of dollars to outshine each other for coffee-break bragging on Monday morning.
And the big winner? A dog and a horse, of course.
Those of us who managed to tear ourselves away from the hilarious Puppy Bowl IV on Animal Planet in order to watch the Super Bowl, were treated to a multitude of bizarre and sometimes incoherent advertisements during the breaks in the big game. There were pigeons, squirrels, hot air balloons, a couple of automakers, and celebrities galore. But the overall advertising winner, according to USA Today’s overnight advertising ratings, was a dog and pony show . . . literally.
The beer commercial featured a Dalmatian who takes on the task of being a personal trainer for a young Clydesdale who dreams of making the Budweiser team next season. The musical theme from Rocky plays over a variety of scenes in which the Dalmatian oversees the horse’s training sessions. We see him lifting a hay stack, running through a snowy slalom of trees, and pulling a freight train — until the final scene when the buffed out Clydesdale is dramatically chosen for the honor of pulling the Budwagon.
The final shot: A “high-five” between the Dalmatian and the Clydesdale’s hoof.
It is a commercial that is uncomplicated — simple and dramatic — with a warm-and-fuzzy theme about how the underdog — or in this case, underhorse — rises to the top of his game through hard work and perseverance.
And it’s all because of a dog.
This is the 10th straight year that a Budweiser commercial has been voted the top rating of all the Super Bowl commercials by the football-viewing public. Only four automakers ponied up the big bucks to advertise, but few fared well in the overnight ratings. Toyota’s ads ranked 19th (Corolla) and 31st (Sequoia), Audi’s spoof on the old Godfather horsehead scene to promote its high-powered R8 garnered a 42nd place, Hyundai’s Genesis plugs placed 43rd and 49th, and GMC’s Yukon hybrid entry rated 51st out of 55 total ads.
Perhaps next year an automotive company will realize that the path to winning a Super Bowl Ad Poll is to appeal to our compassionate hearts. And the best way to do that is to include a dog in their spot. Or, as in Budweiser’s case — some spots on your dog.