A commercial with no words, yet gains the highest rating from audience reviews, how is this so? Developing a plot line with an extremely powerful message of friendship that everyone can relate to on a common ground is very clever. Budweiser’s 2014 Super Bowl commercial was ranked the most popular ad ever to air in the NFL premier event. This was due to the fact that the story line was highlighted with the puppy and Budweiser’s mascot, the Clydestale. The “Puppy love” generated between the classic golden retriever and famous Clydesdale horse created a heartwarming effect for the audience. The commercial employs pathos to manipulate the audience to feel moved by the relationship seen with these two animals.
Those who have seen the hit commercials for Budweiser, know singlehandedly that the audience was convinced by the emotional material presented. Pathos was predominantly the rhetorical appeal utilized. In the commercials, when the puppy submerges from the hay, when he runs into the streets, when he jumps into the strange car, when the man posts a lost dog sign, and when the horse runs after the puppy to come home we immediately say, “AWW” or “How sweet.” The emotional ties to the animals generate this heart-felt reaction from the audience. It is our personal relationships, perhaps with our dogs, cats, horses, or any animal that bring out these emotions. Budweiser is aware of the significance animals play in civic life, therefore, they make use of them through a relatable and impactful commercial that attracts the eyes of many American viewers.
Cleverly, they also knew the time and place to air their hit commercial. Budweiser employs Kairos. Referring to finding the opportune moment to share rhetorical appeal. What better time to share a commercial then during the super bowl? People often watch the super bowl just to see the commercials and the half-time show, so Budweiser’s decision to share this emotional and heart-warming commercial was at the exact right time. Kairos is one of the most influential forms of rhetoric, because if information is not presented at the correct moment it could lose its effect.
The concept of the video highlights the company, Budweiser, to be trustworthy. By showing the connection between the animals and the man it highlights the friendship and bond shared between them. This steers the audience to believing Budweiser to be this company that practices loyalty and friendship. This idea then convinces consumers to feel obliged to purchase the product. Credibility in the form of ethos, is another clever rhetorical piece utilized in this commercial. By using animals to show relationships of love and trust, the audience can relate back to the company morals. The golden retriever serves as the spokesperson, which further adds to the credibility of the commercial. People feel inclined to trust the figure of a puppy. The puppy symbolizes “a man’s best friend,” therefore the audience views it as a loyal figure to look at and feel a stronger sense of credibility. This ties back into the company itself, seeing that Budweiser believes in these specific values of friendship and trust further convinces the audience to favor Budweiser.
In addition to pathos, Kairos, and ethos as rhetorical appeals, Budweiser was very creative in differentiating themselves from other popular brewing companies. Instead of promoting the product for its actual use like most beer company commercials, Budweiser creates a plot line. It generates a message that gears toward the audience, and makes the entire video personally relatable. By using an anecdotal format in its commercial, the audience is able to relate to what is being shown, and further find interest. Budweiser does not show the actual label, or flaunt its company during the video. They create a message that would actually gain audience appreciation. Spending very little time focusing on the beer itself, but rather something that every viewer can connect with for their own interest. No human wants to know about your company, they want to know how this will be important in their life. The story portrays the experience that the customer will actually want, it doesn’t focus on what Budweiser is gaining. Being aware of audience interests, and standing out is a unique part of the Budweiser commercial.
Budweiser further sets a memorable and nostalgic ton through the use of music and symbolism. Playing the song “Let it go” during this time, which is a well-known and highly rated song, was not an accident. It symbolized the friendship ties shared, and continued to make the commercial even more relatable. Beside the puppy, and the musical undertone, the famous Clydestale horse is a well-known symbol for Budweiser. The audience immediately recognizes the company from this symbol. Budweiser did not promote their label as often in the commercial they let the animals do the talking. By allowing animals to play as the spokesperson made the commercial a lot stronger. Animals are a major component in our civic life. No day is passed without their presence in this world. Therefore, people find them intriguing to see outside of social media and daily interaction. A commercial with animals is an effective way to gain high ratings because they are a commonplace in civic life.
The commercial last for less than one minute, yet captures a whole entire story for the audience to reflect. The friendship seen between the horses, the puppy, and the man highlight pathos, ethos, Kairos, and anecdotes all in this short time frame. The brief commercial allows the audience to want more. It leaves them with various rhetorical appeals to think about, and relate to on a personal level connection. At the same time the video leaves viewers wanting to watch it over and over again. Waiting until the end of the commercial, when the brief logo is shown on the man’s hat, the audience is given a visual image of who produced this influential and memorable ad. This made viewers really remember Budweiser’s name.
Humans consume based on their emotion. Its science. Budweiser did not just create a catchy, heart-warming story that gained the highest ratings in 2014. It based this all off logical appeals. Knowing that they had to differentiate their story from previous years, but also provide uniqueness to their 2014 airing. The “Puppy Love” commercial was the 12th commercial that Budweiser created, and still was ranked at the top of the super bowl commercials. It was prevalent that targeting the intended audience’s emotions and creating a credible aspect to the commercial was dominate in the rhetoric of the commercial. However, in order to analyze and put the entire story line together, Budweiser had to look at the previous years, and audience approval in these past years. Budweiser had to generate a video based off logic. Logos, therefore, was another effective appeal utilized to further make this video the highest rated commercial in 2014.
Budweiser incorporates rhetorical appeals, through Kairos, logos, pathos, anecdotes and ethos that capture the audience’s attention. It uses rhetoric to create a memorable visual for the consumers. The images presented in this video are capturing and intriguing. As the horse leaps the fence to run after his “best friend,” the puppy, and the puppy comes happily running to his “best friend,” the man, the immediate reaction of the audience would be to look at Budweiser as a company that practice loyalty and friendship. Using the golden retriever puppy and symbolic Clydestale, Budweiser produces a meaningful commercial that highlights their company to be credible. Credibility and trust gives the audience convincing reasons to buy the Budweiser beer as their next drink.