Dog ads make me cry, but they don’t make me want to buy beer

By now you’ve probably all seen the 2015 Budweiser super bowl ads circulating social media. In true Budweiser fashion, this years ad features the adorable “best buds” draft horse and dog.

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I’ll admit straight up that this ad made me cry. What it didn’t do however is make me want to buy a beer.

This ad is what’s known as a brand ad, designed to evoke a certain feeling or emotion associated with the brand, this is a more effective tool that just listing product features, because it builds consumer attachment to the brand. Energy drinks do this really well, by doing ads and sponsorships around extreme sports or other hyper active activities they have built a strong brand of both fun and “manliness” (but that’s a post for another time).

And while it’s true that not being American I don’t have full saturation to bud  weiser’s marketing, so my only exposure is these yearly super bowl ads, but I wouldn’t want to drink a beer which makes me cry.

Which makes the contents of these ads an interesting choice.

Evoking a strong emotion is an important factor in good advertising – even those “crazy run out sale” ads evoke an emotion of want – and these bud weiser ads certainly stick with you – in the course of writing these I’ve watched that ad  about 5 times and each time I tear up. But I do feel like it s a bit of a lazy way to get an emotional punch.

It could be that their goal with these ads is social media exposure – adorable animal stories and generally a recipe for sharability, and the high quality filming, story and animal actors add to that (how sad does that puppy look in that box in the rain).

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By contrast goDaddy’s banned super bowl ad hits the same emotional cues (literally the exact same) but then turns it on its head with a humorous twist at the end. I have a feeling this ad was developed as a direct parody of the bud weiser ads which have been running for a few years now, and the twist which is what led to the ad being banned brings the emotional manipulation of this bud weiser ads to the fore.