Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Watch Now: "Lost Dog" Budweiser Clydesdales Super Bowl Commercial Released; Puppy Ads Under Scrutiny

I don't know about you, but I'm still snowbound. Cable service returned just in time for me to catch the new Budweiser Clydesdales Super Bowl commercial (a.k.a. "Lost Dog") on The Today Show this morning. And here it is, along with a behind-the-scenes reel, thanks to Budweiser, to share with you.

I wonder what people will think of this one. Who hasn't had a cat shut in a trailer? But should that side escape door pop open when the pickup slams on its brakes? That's trailer safety 101 and sure to elicit the biggest shudder from horse people since the hitch gelding cantering on pavement in the first ad.

That ad, "Brotherhood", was the first of the storytelling trilogy to feature actor Don Jeanes as farm manager. On Monday night, it was named the "best Super Bowl ad ever" by CBS, the network that broadcasts the Super Bowl.

Now we have the Clydesdales facing down a...coyote? It looks more like a wolf, doesn't it? But would there be a wolf near the Clydesdales' ranch in Southern California? Or am I looking too hard for realism?

The lovely song, by the way is "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" performed by Sleeping At Last.

Controversy swirls over another puppy ad this morning. GoDaddy created an ad to spoof Budweiser's. Their yellow pup also gets lost and and has to make a long journey home. But what happened when the puppy got home caused outrage among animal advocates, and GoDaddy pulled the ad from the Super Bowl.

I agree that the use of cute puppies in ads is manipulative of people's emotions and encourages people to buy puppies based on popular breeds--remember the Dalmatian breeding explosion after the movie "101 Dalmatians"?

Here's USA Today's take on the puppy controversy sparked by GoDaddy

There are just as many cute mutts as there are purebred dogs. They are often even cuter, in fact, because they are so unique. Budweiser at least made sure that they began their puppy's appearance in their ads in an adoption shelter.

Budweiser has also given us a bonus video about the making of the commercial this year. Lots of puppy lovers in this crew:

But it's not just the puppies who live in a politically charged world. For next year's Budweiser Clydesdale ad, I wonder if Jake Scott and the Budweiser decision-makers would consider this scenario: the puppy can be grown up and wag his tail in the background of an ad that shows actor/farm manager Don Jeanes unloading a rough looking Clydesdale from that same trailer the puppy was in. 

In a flashback, we learn it's a former hitch gelding that he heard was going through an auction. It now has a big knee and a boggy hock and his feet haven't seen a farrier. Don bids on it and brings it home to the farm to live happily ever after, where it belongs.

The ad is titled "Welcome Home" and after a sweet fadeout of Don clipping and brushing the old guy, the screen goes to a grid of photos of ex-Budweiser horses that have been adopted or fostered or rescued or otherwise on the radar of the Budweiser Clydesdale operation.

Maybe the GoDaddy experience will make Budweiser think a little deeper about the messages the Clydesdales ads convey. I still don't think you can beat the bro-hug message at the end of "Brotherhood", not even with a cute puppy. And I still worry about the Clydesdales severing ties with their old pals the Dalmatians.

Responsible drinking is one of their causes; why not responsible animal ownership, too? Animals have been good for their beer, can't their beer be good for animals?
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