Breakout

Can Americana sell? Patriotism a big theme in Super Bowl ads

Jeff Macke
Breakout

“Is there anything more American than America?” Only if you’re talking about a puppy and a horse united in the effort to sell beer. At least that seemed to be the message from USA Today’s Ad Meter poll where voters made Budweiser’s (BUD) treacly “Puppy Love” the runaway winner of last night’s commercial line-up.

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The Ad Meter is the Granddaddy of Super Bowl ad rankings having introduced the concept back in 1989. Voters rate each spot on a scale of 1 to 10 throughout the game and the full results for all ads are posted Monday. With more than 100 million households tuning in every year, the big game dominates marketing budgets on Madison Avenue. Success is often measured by whether or not a commercial can crack the top-10 in USA Today.

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Bud came in first and third last night using heavy patriotism and cinematography without ever directly touching on the product itself. The self-proclaimed King of Beer’s third place entry was a spot called “Hero’s Welcome” with no apparent script, documentary-style camera work, and no connection to beer whatsoever.

It was Bud’s second consecutive victory. Last year’s winner was called “Brotherhood” featuring… wait for it… guitar music, a horse, no words and a weepy finish.

Other entrants in last night’s patriotic goose-pimple festival of golden lighting and terrible football were Coca-Cola’s (KO) “America The Beautiful” and of course “America’s Import” for Chrysler (F.MI) , former counter-cultural hero Bob Dylan’s quiet paean to the American car industry.

Fifty-two years ago Dylan was asking how many deaths it would take before America would realize the futility of foreign wars. Last night he was shilling cars for a formerly American car company now owned by an Italian industrial giant. With the possible exceptions of horses, puppies, trucks and beer, there’s nothing more American than former rebels discovering the virtues of selling out during a football game.

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