The Budweiser Puppy Commercial Isn’t Happening This Year, But Here's Where You Can Get A Puppy Fix
As any Mad Men aficionado will tell you, advertisements don't sell a product — they sell a lifestyle. And over the past two years, Budweiser has capitalized on that with its puppy campaign playing during successive Super Bowls, selling not just beer but a wider feeling of warmth, comfort, and cute. The 2014 "Puppy Love" commercial was voted the top commercial of that year's Super Bowl by Hulu viewers, leading Time Magazine to declare that its success "points to a larger trend of ads aiming for emotional resonance rather than cheap laughs." But no more — Budweiser has traded in its puppies for Helen Mirren, who, in the latest ad, rails against drunk driving. (There will be a second ad featuring the famed Budweiser Clydesdales, but without their canine companions.) "The ads don't sell beer," Budweiser wrote on the Super Bowl Commercials 2016 website, referring to the puppy ads. (Hint — they're not supposed to! See above Don Draper reference!)
Missing puppies in the Budweiser segments might come as a crushing blow for those who see the colorful Super Bowl ads as the main attraction, rather than a side show. But never fear: You can still find puppies in these 11 other places. So during each break from play, mute your television, open your browser, and treat your Super Bowl like it's 2015 — even if Anheuser-Busch won't be there with you.
1. Puppy Bowl XII
In tandem with Super Bowl 50 is Puppy Bowl 12, the annual Animal Planet showdown that works in collaboration with shelters to highlight the plight of rescue animals — and hopefully help the "adoptable players" find homes. Super Bowl kickoff begins at 6 pm; Puppy Bowl kickoff is at 3 pm. Make the smart choice.
2. Subaru "Dog-Tested" Commercials 2014
Part of a larger "Dog-Tested" campaign by the Japanese car manufacturer, the above Subaru commercial features a mama golden retriever driving around town, trying to lull her pup to sleep. Puppies can also be spotted in the "Phone Navigation" segment — because when Budweiser cedes its control of the puppy-advertising market, there will always be another brand ready to take up the mantle.
3. Doritos "Pug Attack" Ad 2011
Before Budweiser, Doritos cast adorable puppies in starring roles. In this slot, a pug literally takes down the dumb human who taunts him with a Dorito.
4. Heinz Ketchup Wiener Dog Ad 2016
Brands did it before Budweiser, and they'll keep doing it even once Bud has moved on to starring celebrities in PSAs disguised as advertisements. Apparently, the only way to make a wiener dog even cuter is to dress it up in a wiener suit and watch it careen across the screen in slow motion.
5. Netflix's Puppy Party
Yellow labrador puppy Milo takes us on a tour through 25 different species of his peers who he's invited for a party in this hour-long Netflix movie. It's the hotly anticipated prequel to Kitten Party, a giant Netflix hit that should probably be the next thing in your queue, after Puppy Party, of course.
6. 101 Dalmations
There are enough puppies in 101 Dalmations to make up for all the puppies missing in this year's Budweiser advertisement. If, like me, you didn't know that 101 Dalmations is available for streaming on Netflix right now, get thee to a computer.
7. Puppy Pug Play Time On Animal Planet's Too Cute
If the title of the show isn't enough to pique your interest, consider this: six week old pug pups, still uncertain about their center of gravity, learning to navigate the human world.
8. Drunk Girls Get Surprised With Puppies
Though it's nearly impossible to have missed BuzzFeed's "Drunk Girls Get Surprised With Puppies" video when it debuted last year, it's still worth revisiting. If you don't at least crack a smile, you have no soul.
9. Stephen Moyer, Jimmy Fallon, And Puppies
A trend among these videos seems to be that if you add "... And Puppies" to the end of any word or phrase or combination of things, the result will probably be better than the starting idea. This is definitely true for Stephen Moyer's interview about his new series The Bastard Executioner on Jimmy Fallon's show. Though the series didn't survive long, this clip deserves to outlive it.
10. Puppy Conan
While we're on the subject of late-night television, we need to talk about Puppy Conan, Conan O'Brien's puppy-themed spin-off. This is just the first in a Puppy Bowl-inspired series of videos, which also includes guests like Puppy Lady Gaga.
11. Budweiser's "Lost Puppy" Ad 2015
Who needs to "sell beer" when you've got a melancholy cover of the Proclaimers' "500 Miles" set against a montage of a sweet Yellow Lab puppy finding its way home?
We should expect to see a dramatic drop in Super Bowl viewership, and corollary increase in Puppy Bowl viewership, with Budweiser's decision.
Images: Getty Images; Netflix; Walt Disney Studios