The 4-1-1 this week is the commercial I am sure everyone has either seen or heard about- the Budweiser dog commercial of course, and if you have not seen it, just prepare yourself (and your tissues!) for a one minute emotional roller-coaster. I guess we could have foreseen this from the cute little dog in the last Budweiser horse commercial, but the year of the horse has ended and the year of the dog has begun.
The commercial showcases the budding relationship between a young man and a puppy, and chronicles their friendship over the years as the dog truly turns into his best friend and one of the guys. One night, the owner and a couple buddies go out for some drinks, but what happens next is heart-wrenching. All night, the dog waits by the window for his friend to come home, but is quickly saddened when he doesn’t. Just when the dog (and audience) starts to think the man will never come home, he waltzes through the door and apologizes to the poor pup. You see, he had to spend the night at his friend Dave’s house after drinking too much-pure responsibility at its finest – except, who was watching the dog? But I guess that’s a discussion for another time.
Once again, Budweiser packs an emotional punch, just like in their last commercial when the long lost show horse was reunited with his owner. Budweiser displays the relationship between the dog and the owner, and then relays the worry and sadness in the animal so perfectly that it makes everyone in those few seconds second guess every drinking decision they have ever made. Whether you are a dog lover or an animal hater, no one wants to feel the loss of someone close to you, and Budweiser was able to find a connection to every consumer by acknowledging this. Whether the viewer drinks beer, or does not drink at all, Budweiser just made a huge impact on all those who have watched.
Most people who go out and drink often do not think about those around them, or whether or not they will affect the lives of those close to them, even a pet that relies on them day in and day out. Although most of the commercial is not focused on the Budweiser beer itself, it does not matter. Everyone, whether they saw it themselves or heard about it across their cubicle, knows that Budweiser was the manufacturer, because each conversation revolving around the commercial prefaces with ‘Hey Lou, did you see that Budweiser dog commercial?’. You know the commercial is successful when 1. people can’t stop talking about the commercial and 2. everyone who has heard/seen the commercial can articulate that Budweiser was the maker.
This disguise of marketing was genius. They did not shove their products in your face or try to say their beer was better than anyone else’s. This engaging commercial invites the viewer to reflect upon their own life choices. A gratitude that you might feel obligated to pay off by buying a case of their beer. There will come that time when you are standing in the liquor store faced with a choice between Heineken or Budweiser and your thoughts will always circle back to the Budweiser dog commercial and your decision will be made. You do not want to be the one to leave someone that depends on you behind and because of that your clear choice is Budweiser. Especially because you want to Instagram that perfect sunset with your Budweiser bottle and the hash tag “Friends are Waiting”. That my friend is continuous, effective marketing without even knowing you are falling for it.