And what about the winner?

If you read my last few blog posts, then you learned that the number two ad (as ranked by viewers) in the last SuperBowl was the American Farmer ad for Ram trucks.  So what was the number one ad you might ask?  Hand it to the horse!!

After watching this ad, you should notice a few of the things that makes it so powerful.  First of all, notice how the ad is not directly selling anything (e.g., the “product as prop” principle I discussed last time).  Instead of selling beer based on benefits, which we can probably all agree doesn’t have much traction with the modern viewer, Budweiser instead latched onto their tried and true Brand Agent, the Clydesdale horse.

As mentioned before, most people don’t necessarily think about the product attributes of the beer they drink.  They typically drink the beer they’ve always drunk.  This is what we call a low-involvement decision.  And why have they always drunk a particular brand?  Most likely because they were introduced to the brand early on in their beer-drinking life.

So, what’s a brand to do?  Well, Budweiser recognizes that they are the market leader for “generic” beer.  All they need to do is keep people buying their products without thinking too much about the competition.  One of the best ways to do this for low-involvement items is to create an emotional connection with your product.

And this is exactly what Budweiser has done with their horses and this commercial.  In fact, when you study this commercial you will see that instead of directly advertising, Budweiser is telling a story.  Yes indeed my friends, as you’ll hear me say many times, stories sell.  We are story-driven creatures after all.  In fact, what Budweiser has done is retell a classic “boy-meets-girl” story that we have seen for eons.  Only in this case, instead of boy meets girl, boy meets horse.  Go ahead and look again.  What do boy-meet-girl stories do?  Boy meets girl.  Boy falls in love.  Boy loses girl.  Boy gets girl back.  Substitute horse for girl, and there you have it!

Of course, it is somewhat more nuanced and sophisticated than this in execution, but fundamentally the principle applies.  Take another look and see if you don’t agree.  And for those of you saying, “But Gary, this is a coming-of-age story!” please tune in next time when we discuss character and perspective.


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