Budweiser’s Clydesdales beat out Tide, Paul Harvey for best Super Bowl commercial

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Anheuser-Busch climbed back into the saddle with the Super Bowl’s top commercial – a heart-tugging tale of the bond between a trainer and the Budweiser Clydesdale he raised. … Procter & Gamble’s Tide laundry detergent pulled off a close No. 2, ahead of many Super Bowl regulars, with gentle humor. Its ad had an image of football legend Joe Montana miraculously appearing in a salsa stain on a rabid fan’s jersey. The miracle stain causes a media uproar and becomes a relic of worship until the fan’s wife – who happens to be a Baltimore Ravens fan – washes the stain out with Tide. The Budweiser winner is about a guy who breeds and raises a Clydesdale horse, only to wistfully watch it leave for the big-time. Then, three years later, at a big-city parade, man and horse re-unite in an emotional embrace. … For P&G, the road to nearing advertising nirvana has been long, slow but focused. Its ads have continued to improve from pure product demonstrations to humorous slices of life with product as hero. …

Chrysler’s two-minute spot for Ram pickups , in third place, focused on a celluloid hug for the American farmer, featuring photographic images of farmers and work. For the ad’s narrative, the carmaker used a commentary by radio broadcaster Paul Harvey, who died in 2009. He extolled the virtues of American farmers, whose hard work, he says, puts them as about as close to God as anyone can get. A second two-minute Chrysler ad for Jeep was a touching salute to the military serving away from home. Chrysler proved a couple of things Sunday night that every Super Bowl marketer would do well to consider: Patriotism still sells. And so do longer tales told well, even in an age of instant YouTube clips. …

For the first time in years , the Super Bowl took place at a time of relative national calm, unlike the air of uncertainty during last year’s game, when America stood at an economic and political crossroads. So, with a decent chunk of the American public feeling a bit better, many other Super Bowl advertisers figured it was time to let loose. Many commercials were overflowing with spectacle, scantily-clothed bodies and visual and audio pyrotechnics. This must be what viewers really want, right? Wrong, according to Ad Meter’s panelists. Turns out what they really wanted weren’t ads that went whiz, bang and pop. They favored ads that told a simple story with a wisp of wonder. Folks wanted ads that made them feel good. … [V]iewers loved the ads about heart-felt reunions. For A-B, man and horse. For Chrysler, soldier and family. … Ads go long. Who’d a thunk, in an age of instant gratification, that two advertisers would choose to air three Super Bowl spots that are each two-minutes long? Chrysler did it twice.

The full story with the ads is here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.