Clydesdales, Colors, and Anecdotes: Budweiser’s Super Bowl Commercials

For years, Budweiser has been not only giving us commercials, but giving us the feels.

Since 2011, Budweiser has released Super Bowl commercials that feature a story.  With the exception of 2016, a more brand-charged campaign year, Budweiser has consistently given us a story that pulled audiences in.  Many don’t even have to openly advertise Budweiser for us to be involved and know who is advertising.  Remember this one:

With millions of Youtube views on advertisements, Budweiser specializes in making us track the company without blatantly announcing the brand name up front.   Using story and characters that we care about, the company is able to hook our interest, but the use of the Clydesdale and red-color schemes make our minds associate the commercial with the Anheuser-Busch brand name.

Actually, in every Super Bowl ad for the last 7 years Budweiser has featured a Clydesdale, making it a more permanent than the Budweiser beer logo* which has changed more in that time.



Everyone loves a good narrative and Budweiser has continuously put itself out as a brand with passion.  From the tear-jerking puppies to the powerful horses and even to the people of Budweiser, the company has developed its advertisement campaigns to reach people in short films that provide a break from the standard, this-is-why-we’re-great commercial.

This year Budweiser may not bring out the Clydesdales, but they are definitely continuing the trend with a powerful narrative:

While we do miss the iconic animals, we’re glad Budweiser has kept the heart-wrenching stories.

-Sean Owens

11 thoughts on “Clydesdales, Colors, and Anecdotes: Budweiser’s Super Bowl Commercials

  1. It’s crazy to me that brands will attempt to activate so much emotion into the viewers of their commercials. I do agree that it is an effective method of selling people on the idea of a brand but isn’t there a line to be drawn? Quality and taste seem to be irrelevant in these advertisements. Nowhere in these adds does it talk about the product itself, only the brand. These just seem to be a way of rebranding to change people’s mind on the brand of Budweiser.

  2. The iconic Budweiser commercial is something I always look forward to during the Super Bowl. The brand image creates that heartwarming American success story that makes us proud to not only drink Budweiser but represent that brand as people. I think it is interesting that all beers have their own way of designing their commercials and look to create their own unique brand. For example, during the College Football Playoffs, Dos Equis used their image of The Most Interesting Man in the World and created The Most Interesting Fan in College Football to get people to identify with this brand as college football fans. I believe that the beer you drink becomes a part of your identity not because its what you prefer to drink, but because it is the image we buy into. Buying into the image of the American brand of Budweiser or any other beer based on similar values represents the image of that individual.

  3. We were just talking about this ad in my COM 305 class, although I can’t recall the context. I may be one of the few people to find this ad resonant from a narrative/cuteness perspective, but I never would have known it was a Budweiser ad until the logo came up at the end. Perhaps Clydesdales have been consistent branding for Bud, but I’ve never paid much attention to beer commercials. I suppose I’m not Budweiser’s audience–I avoid beer, period.

    If I did like and drink beer, would a cute ad featuring a puppy and dog as best friends make me buy Budweiser over, say, Heineken? It might register subconsciously. I might pass the cans in the grocery store and think of puppies. In a way this almost feels like subliminal messaging. I like puppies, Budweiser had puppies in its commercial, ergo I must have the same rush of dopamines in my brain when I see Bud as when I see puppies. I understand what Christian Baker says above about it being sort of ridiculous that there’s no mention of the brand’s quality or even what it actually is, but isn’t that the point of innovative advertising? The more ads you see that explicitly state “X is the best,” the less likely you are to believe any one of them.

  4. I think that Anheuser-Busch has done a great job of branding. They’ve managed to successfully change their logo to keep it new and refreshing while also finding a symbol (the Clydesdales) to keep a constant to associate with their product. Well done to the IMC folks over there.

  5. Oh my goodness the puppy Budweiser commercial has been a favorite of mine over the years for so many reasons, the fact that it stars the cutest puppy in the world being number one. I still get all wishy-washy watching the one where the pup has to find his way back home and is saved from a wolf by the horses and then reunites with his owner, it’s just so stinking cute!

    The Budweiser brand made a very smart choice by marketing their alcohol products with a commercial about a puppy and his best friend, I mean empathy can play a huge part in successful marketing after all. That being said, while I personally wouldn’t be swayed to drink Budweiser just because of a commercial like this (I just really hate it), I do believe that avid beer drinkers probably would. I mean to be completely honest most any type of product a company was advertising in commercials like these would probably see a up in sales after it aired. Especially if it was broadcast during a prime-time event like the Super Bowl. You just can’t go wrong with a heartfelt story about puppy, soft piano mood music and the power of friendship. Sigh.

  6. As someone mentioned before, the iconic Budweiser ad is something I’m sure that many people look forward to every year during the Super Bowl. I have loved each ad every year and they never fail to be heart-wrenching, but this year, my own opinions aside, there seems to have been more backlash than others. Promoting the brand with puppies and clydesdales has been successful, no doubt, but twitter’s response to the water ad was mixed. Many claim that this was a poor choice of advertising the brand, since these ad spaces cost an outrageous amount of money to buy and canning water to ship to devastated areas is very cheap in comparison. The issue to those who dislike the ad is that the money could have been used to further help the devastated areas, many of which are still recovering, and letting free word of mouth and other social media promote the company’s philanthropic gestures. With that being said, it takes me back to the controversial Pepsi ad with Kendall Jenner, and what many ask about that– who was in charge of writing this ad, and did they consider the potential backlash? This is an incredibly important aspect of marketing and branding, and with such success in the past, may be easy to overlook.

  7. This ad is such a classic. And Budweiser really found a way to my heart with beer and puppies. The branding is very American (which is Budweiser’s main source of branding) but brings a sense of unity to the American people and the people that drink it. I think beer has some of the best advertising in the game, and each brand offers something different. When you are younger, the type of beer you drink does not say much about you, but as your become an adult and create your own image, the brands you surround yourself with say something about you. And this includes what type of beer you drink. Buying into the image of the brand of beer you drink represents the image of your individualism. And Budweiser gives you this image and sense of Americanism and independence .

  8. The Budweiser commercials are my favorite!! I rid horses so this really pulls at my pathos. I think it pulls at everyones hearts a little even if you are not a horse person. Because most of everyone does love beer!!! The music and the quality of these commercials makes them an ultimate classic.

  9. I absolutely love the idea of Budweiser’s advertising techniques. I think they do this to stand apart from other ads, especially from other beer companies. Their appeal to emotion is something that immediately gains the viewers attention and keeps their attention throughout the whole commercial. Budweiser has become a true American beer from ads like this. It is great to see that a major beer company will completely switch their factories from beer to water in order to help their fellow American citizens. This is something that I will always think about next time I’m deciding between Budlight and Budweiser, and I think many other people will too.

  10. The Budweiser advertisements are a vivid display of the American way, and it appeals to Americans who empathize with the patriotic. Some people may view this approach as cheesy or pandering, but for some it’s a reminder of the American dream… Sponsored by Budweiser. That being said, their most recent advertisement features the story of one of their co-founders. He was an immigrant, and immigration is a hot political topic right now. The advertisement was bound to succeed.

  11. I think these ads are great if you want to tug on people’s heartstrings, but I personally don’t think they’re successful in marketing the actual product: beer. However, don’t get me wrong, I truly love seeing these ads during each Super Bowl. They have created such an iconic reputation that if you ask someone if they had seen the commercial for that year’s Super Bowl, they would probably talk about how it made them cry or how much they loved it. I’m curious to see if Budweiser will ever change what types of ads they do in the future, or if they will always have the same “feels” ad every year.

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