Budweiser is putting its Super Bowl puppies back in the doghouse.
The cute little critters -- which have played a key role in Bud ads for the past two Super Bowls -- are sitting out the the 2016 game and might never come back. Because as cute as they are, the puppies apparently don't sell beer. So Bud will deploy a more product-focused approach for Super Bowl 50.
Still, fans of the brand's iconic Clydesdales can rest easy. The horses, which mingled with the puppies in the ads, are coming back.
"While the puppy's story line won't be reprised in February, the Budweiser Clydesdales are icons of the brand and will most certainly make an appearance," Jorn Socquet, U.S. VP-marketing for A-B InBev, said in a statement to Ad Age.
He added: "Budweiser aired two very different spots in last February's Super Bowl, and we learned that content focused on the quality of our beer was most effective in generating sales. Starting with our 'Brewed the Hard Way' ad in last year's game and throughout 2015, our marketing has featured a bold, confident voice that speaks directly to Budweiser drinkers, and sales trends have improved as a result. We'll continue this tone in Super Bowl 50, and we're excited to explore new creative territory."
In an article published by Bloomberg last week, Mr. Socquet said that while everybody loves the puppies, "they have zero impact on beer sales. Those ads I wouldn't air again because they don't sell beer."
Bud's two Super Bowl puppy ads were by Bud agency-of-record Anomaly and were directed by Jake Scott.The spots garnered plenty of social media buzz. In a story published in advance of the 2015 Super Bowl, Ad Age declared Bud the pre-game victor after the "Lost Dog" ad -- which was released before the game -- drew nearly 31 million views.
The "Brewed the Hard Way" ad, which was not released before the game, took a hard-hitting approach that proudly declared the nation's third-largest beer as a "macro" brew. The spot generated plenty of buzz on its own -- especially within the beer world -- for taking shots at fruity micro brews and beer geeks. Bud is "brewed for drinking, not dissecting," the ad declared.
The campaign, which is also by Anomaly, has continued this year but has focused more squarely on Bud's credentials without making comparisons to crafts. Here is one of the latest ads:
A 2013 Super Bowl ad by Anomaly and Jake Scott did not include puppies but used a similar emotional storytelling formula as the puppy ads. The soundtrack for the ad, called "Brotherhood," was Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide." Here is that spot, followed by the puppy ads from 2014 and 2015.