Before he set Batman and Superman to beating the life out of each other on the big screen, director Zack Snyder earned his bones by shooting commercials for the likes of CVS, Lexus and Nissan. But the handful of ads he shot for Budweiser are his most memorable, and the popularity of “Instant Replay” is rivaled only by “Respect,” Hill Holiday’s kneeling-Clydesdales 9/11 tribute from 2002.
A riff on the eternal dickering that goes on under the hood during NFL officials’ reviews of contested plays, “Replay” features a dozen of A-B’s signature feather-fetlocked beasts waiting around while a zebra studies the tape more intently than Garrison watching the Zapruder film. (See Nike's "Stanley's Speech" from 1995 and Motel 6's "Refs" from 2001 for other takes on officiating.) The Clydesdales first established themselves as football players back in the 1996 Super Bowl commercial "Football."
"Only Budweiser has the equity to make this kind of beerless Event Advertising a brand builder," Ad Age reviewer Bob Garfield wrote at the time.
Voted the most popular ad in Super Bowl XXXVII (it edged stablemate Bud Light’s “No Pets” for top honors on the USA Today's annual Ad Meter), “Replay” remained relevant more than decade later as "define ‘catch’” became the cri de coeur of NFL culture. Snyder went on to direct films including "300" and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
Combined with the other Clydesdales work in Super Bowl ad history, "Instant Replay" helps demonstrate that marketers can keep brand mascots fresh by being flexible in their approach. Where "Instant Replay" is droll, later executions varied: "Clydesdale Team" is light and rousing, "Brotherhood" is bittersweet and "Not Backing Down" projects power.
Production company: Believe Media.
Agency Producer: Tom Foley. Line producer: Kendall Henry. Executive creative director: Marty Donohue. Creative director: Tim Foley. Copywriters: Eivind Ueland, Geoff Mullett. Art directors: Doug Gould, Jeremy Schwartz.
Director of broadcast production: Bryan Sweeney. Visual effects: Brickyard VFX. Post production: Nice Shoes. Audio post production: Sound Lounge. Editorial: Bug Editorial. Editor: Andre Betz.Send credit info to SuperBowlAdArchive@adage.com.