To America, for this week’s Ad of the Week, and the one day on an ad executive’s calendar more important than Christmas – the Super Bowl. The American Football showdown has become as much about the adverts as it has the game itself, particularly in the UK where football (with the round ball) rules.
This year’s triumphant ad was no doubt Budweiser’s ‘Best Buds’. This tells the tale of one golden retriever puppy and their quest to escape the shackles of farm confines to be with their best friend – an extremely well-groomed horse. After several failed attempts the puppy faces re-homing, and while being driven away to its new location, the puppy’s equine pal and a stud of other horses stride in to save the friendship.
Although not a single bottle of Budweiser features, it doesn’t matter, as Best Buds allowed the brand to infiltrate its key audience’s social spaces. It has all the hallmarks of an ad with great viral characteristics – puppies, a heart-warming tale of friendship and an inspiring crescendo – and viral reach is now the primary gauge of a digital promotion’s success.
At the time of writing Best Buds has garnered over 44.5 million views on YouTube, and during the game the #BestBuds hashtag was mentioned on Twitter over 59,100 times – far more than Honda’s #HugFest which follows at 18,400.
Budweiser’s success with Best Buds was not down to anything complex. It struck the perfect blend of subtle branding, a straightforward message the audience could relate to and loveable characters – the perfect cocktail for global viral success. While the ad didn’t feature voice-overs or text on screen, and the friendship between the two animals was silent, the lyrics of the background song perfectly captured the cute sentiment. We also noticed that the ‘Best Buds’ title is a play on the brand name – we don’t know if it was deliberate, but we expect so and it’s a nice touch.
Sadly, our office doesn’t feature puppies (yet), but the next best thing – a team of intelligent copywriters who are always available for a friendly chat about your copy requirements.