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What Can We Learn From Budweiser’s Super Bowl Win?

Puppy Love

These days, it seems that there are just as many people who watch the Super Bowl for the ads as for the game.  Unfortunately, this year, both were overall disappointments.  Despite the lackluster performances, one company scored a “Marketing Trifecta.”  Budweiser dominated in  advertising, social media, and public relations.

There was no doubt that Budweiser’s Puppy Love ad was the overall winner.  The tender ad launched a late rally by Budweiser, giving the brand the title of overall winner due to the combination of the total volume of tweets and positive feedback.  Bud also earned “most talked about” honors by generating the highest number of tweets from viewers—more than 63,000.  Many viewers were actually waiting for the Puppy Love ad, which tugged on heartstrings, appealed to animal lovers, and…well, how can you lose with puppies?  As one viewer wrote on Facebook, “Finally, the puppy ad!”

Budweiser’s other commercial of the night was called “A Hero’s Welcome,” and told the story of a surprise homecoming for a soldier returning to Winter Park, FL.  It succeeded in telling the world that  Budweiser supports American heroes and small towns and that Budweiser is a responsible corporate citizen.

But it was their pre-game social media campaign that really stole the show.  By previewing their ads and encouraging people to share them, they created a viral sensation.  Mid-week, at least four days before the game, The Puppy Love ad had surpassed 4 million views on YouTube, and continued to climb.  Their extended version of the A Hero’s Welcome ad was a moving tribute to our veterans that went viral among veterans groups, their supporters, family and friends.

From a PR perspective, not only did Budweiser create a media event for the A Hero’s Welcome ad, but thousands of headlines Monday morning featured their name, their ads, and links, which encouraged even more viewers.  For example:

  • Budweiser’s ‘Puppy Love’ Ad Wins Super Bowl Viewers’ Hearts – NPR
  • ‘Puppy Love’: 2014 Ad Meter winner – USA TODAY
  • Budweiser is crowned king of Brand Bowl 2014 – The Boston Globe
  • Budweiser scores buzz in Super Bowl ad battle – Reuters
  • Budweiser ‘Puppy Love’ Super Bowl ad was a labor of love – Los Angeles Times

So what can we learn from this?

An integrated campaign strategy is the best approach.

Budweiser set specific goals, developed a strategy that included advertising, community outreach, social media and public relations, and executed flawlessly.

Oh, and…well for the most part, you can’t lose with puppies!

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