Saturday, January 18, 2014

Budweiser Clydesdales 2014 Super Bowl Commercial: Expect Big Horses, a Cute Puppy, and An Epic "Awwwww..."

It's coming. And imagining what it might be will keep us busy for the next 15 days. It's time for the 2014 Budweiser Clydesdale commercial created for the Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2.

You know you can't wait for it. You know you always fret that if you get up during the commercials you might miss the one ad you really want to see. 

Don't worry, it will be showcased here on The Hoof Blog, as soon as Budweiser releases it.

So what are they up to this year? It's tough to argue with success, and last year's "Brotherhood" ad won the poll for most popular Super Bowl commercial. It was so popular, in fact, that this year Anheuser-Busch will bring out the hitch for not one commercial, but two.

The beloved Budweiser Clydesdales will be featured prominently in a commercial code-named “Puppy Love” According to a press release from Budweiser, the spot continues the story of 2013’s celebrated “Brotherhood” and focuses on the connections animals share with one another at Warm Springs Ranch, Budweiser’s Clydesdale breeding ranch. 

The ad introduces a new, young star – a 10-week old puppy who forges a bond with the Clydesdales and, through tenacity, ultimately earns a place on the team.

Don Jeanes was a hit in 2013's
"Brotherhood" commercial so
he's back in 2014...with a puppy.
Actor Don Jeanes is back. Director Jake Scott is back. Ad agency Anomaly is back. And the Clydesdales are back, of course.

But running around underhoof is a tiny Labrador Retriever puppy (at least he looks like a Lab). And it sounds like his mission is to get adopted, preferably by a Budweiser Clydesdale.

Wait a minute, what happened to the Dalmatians that ride on the wagon? What's a Lab doing in this commercial?

That's as much I know, 15 days out. We also know that Anheuser-Busch will promote the ad heavily between now and Super Sunday so more clues are sure to emerge.

Dalmatians have traditionally been the breed of dog associated with the Budweiser Clydesdales, so what's up with a yellow Lab puppy in the 2014 Super Bowl commercial? (Anheuser-Busch photo)
It's not clear if there is a hoof connection this time, other than that the puppy is in trouble if one of the horses steps on it.

Last year's Super Bowl commercial was a big hit on The Hoof Blog because we were all horrified that Jake Scott scripted a Clydesdale to canter on a city street. We know that these horses wear big, wide square shoes. It looked really dangerous.

But it turned out that the horse was "shod" with a soft fabric-like boot designed by K. C. La Pierre. KC checked in recently to recount some of the details he couldn't share a year ago. He writes:

"When contacted by Budweiser and Tommy (horse trainer Tommie Turvey), I created boots and wear plates for three of the Budweiser horses. 

"We were faxed tracings of their hooves, which allowed us to machine the wear plates for correct fit. The boot itself was fashioned from the Perfect Hoof Wear the day before the shoot and the plates were affixed to the boots. 

KC LaPierre on the Budweiser Clydesdale Super Bowl commercial set in 2013. The horse is trying to show off its unique hoof protection, but it's genetically challenged by long feathers. (KC LaPierre photo)

"The boot is friction fit, but for added security a custom-formulated mastic (resin) can be used to aid in retention and to help in the dissipation of the shock created by impact on asphalt. The alloy proved to aid in traction and shock dissipation as well. 

"Gait analysis has shown that the boots have negligible effect on gait. This is a benefit to the performance horse that trains shoeless, but must wear a shoe for protection or as a result of a competition ruling.

The foal in last year's "Brotherhood" commercial is now a gawky yearling. He celebrated his birthday this week. (Anheuser Busch photo)

"The wear plates are fashioned from an alloy having elastic potential (spring retention), We have found that flexibility in itself is insufficient for use in performance boots, the dynamic stability of a plate with elastic potential is far better suited to foot function and in dealing with the increased force experienced by the performance horse.

This photo shows the Clydesdale's feathers pulled back, so you can see the fabric part of the boot on the hoof wall. (KC LaPierre photo)

"The hoof stricken with weak caudal structure benefits greatly from the dynamic stability, where flexibility alone often falls short. For 2014 we will continue to work at perfecting our performance boot in the hope that it will be released later this year. We are planning on holding workshops to showcase the benefits of using race plates (shoes) with high elastic potential."

Meanwhile, Anheuser-Busch is going all out as the exclusive beer sponsor for the game, which will be held at The Meadowlands in New Jersey, just outside New York City. They've converted a Normandy cruise ship into the floating Bud Light Hotel on New York's Hudson River, with live concerts by bands like the Foo Fighters. The hotel will sleep 4000 guests.

In reality, the Budweiser Clydesdales are shod this way, with large square plate punched to the inside, and planty of hard-facing (a.k.a. "borium", although it may be something else). According to Budweiser, may wear leather pads; if this one is leather, it is cut out for the frog. This is a publicity photo, with no details about the horse or shoe, nor an explanation why the tool box is so empty. (Anheuser-Busch photo)

The Super Bowl itself, hosted by the National Football League, is commandeering 11 blocks of Broadway in New York, from Times Square to 46th Street for the week before the game to just host a lot of fun for fans.

Stay tuned to The Hoof Blog, and "like" the Facebook page so you can keep up with developments for this year's commercials. Perhaps there's another hoof connection!

To learn more:

Super Bowl Scoop: Hoof Boot Solves Budweiser Clydesdale Safety Concern

Name the Budweiser Clydesdale Foal Star of 2013's Super Bowl Commercial

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is the news service for Hoofcare and Lameness Publishing. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a headlines-link email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to  
Follow Hoofcare + Lameness on Twitter: @HoofcareJournal
Read this blog's headlines on the Hoofcare + Lameness Facebook Page
Disclosure of Material Connection: The Hoof Blog (Hoofcare Publishing) has not received any direct compensation for writing this post. Hoofcare Publishing has no material connection to the brands, products, or services mentioned, other than products and services of Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.