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Tuesday 21 October 2014
Dan Fox
The views expressed in db Reader do not represent the views of the drinks business.

Why cute puppies don’t help

17th February, 2014 by Dan Fox

Budweiser are hoping the cuteness of a puppy can arrest a steady decline in sales.

Even before the SuperBowl opening kickoff, advertising and media pundits had proclaimed Budweiser’s puppy commercial the big winner. Their key measure? This commercial had been viewed a remarkable 25 million times online.

press_clippings(You just added to that total.)

Chances are, your response was the same “Awww” that literally gushed forth from news sites and social media.

There is no arguing that this represents the mega-buzz every SuperBowl advertiser covets. But how much of a win is there here for Budweiser?

The unfortunate-for-Budweiser answer is: Not much. How can we say this about such a touching ad, one that is clearly loved by millions? We’re not hard-hearted, but we are tough-minded when it comes to advertising. You spend big money in advertising for one reason: to build your business. And no brand needs that more than Bud.

Budweiser sales have been dropping for over a decade now. In just the last five years, the brand’s lost a staggering 22 million barrels of volume, roughly $3 billion in sales. The decline has been steady with no sign of relief.

So, with 25 million voluntary views of its puppy ad in just the past week, if this ad is effective, Budweiser sales ought to be taking off like a rocket. But they aren’t, and they won’t. See, as touching as it is, Bud’s puppy is just not effective advertising.

Here’s why we gave the ad a thumbs-down on our Job #1 effectiveness rating system.puppy love

The ad doesn’t in any way make drinking a Bud more desirable. It does not make the beer brand more special than others. It doesn’t give the viewer any reason at all to consider, or re-consider, calling for a Budweiser. Sorry for the puppy-buzz kill.

The sad truth is, the puppy commercial is a far better ad for finding puppies new homes, than it is for moving cases of Budweiser beer. But a spike in bringing home puppies isn’t much consolation when you were really looking for some of that $3 billion to come back home.

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