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Puppy goes viral in Bud’s anti-drunk driving ad

This puppy’s got legs.

The dog, “Cooper,” is the star of a new Anheuser-Busch responsible-drinking commercial that’s gone viral with more than 13 million views since being posted less than a week ago.

But “Cooper” isn’t one dog. He’s several, explains Tom Kraus, director, Budweiser. “In order to get our dogs to perform without tiring, we had a backup for the puppy and adult ages to cover for each other. In total, we worked with two 9-week-old puppies, Molly and Maverick; one adolescent 7-month-old, Dozer; and two adult 7-year-old Labs, Smith and Jones. All played their roles extremely well.”

Dogs — perhaps even more than Clydesdales — have become the beer maker’s “gotcha” ad vehicle. It was Budweiser’s soft-hearted puppy in love with a horse that won 2014’s USA TODAY Super Bowl Ad Meter competition.

But this latest puppy’s attachment isn’t to a four-legged critter but to its two-legged, 20-something owner, Luke, who is late getting home from a night out partying. The dog patiently waits — and waits — at the door.

All through the night.

The ad’s message: The owner is responsible. Instead of driving home, he apparently was coaxed by his buddies into sleeping it off. So he arrives home safe the next morning, to his dog’s delight.


Never mind that the viewer is still left wondering, gee, who fed that poor puppy dinner and let it out to pee overnight?

Apparently, all of that’s forgiven in social media. Many of the tweets are from folks who couldn’t keep from tearing up while watching it. “Legit cried during this Budweiser commercial with the dog,” tweeted Hannah Hart.

Zildjian Bartels even posted a photo of herself crying, next to her tweet, “The New Budweiser commercial got me like (crying).”

“So many tears for the new Budweiser commercial,” tweeted Christina@Chomo90, who also posted a tear-soaked photo of herself.

The ad squarely targets the 21- to 27-year-old Millennial whose single mission in life is to share content with friends on social media.

The purpose of the ad: “From the beginning, our aim has always been to tell an emotional story in a disruptive way to remind adults that drunk driving is 100% preventable,” says Kraus.

AB posted the digital-only ad last Friday as part of its “Global Be(er) Responsible” day against drunk driving. The ad is trending under #FriendsAreWaiting.

Then, there’s the dude who plays Cooper’s owner. He’s Nile Sarkisian, a 25-year-old actor and model who lives in Los Angeles. “We picked him not only for his talent, but also his genuine likability — and his fondness of dogs certainly helped,” says Kraus.

During one day of filming, says Kraus, “our actor probably endured more licks than most pet owners do in a lifetime.”

Even hardened brand consultants begrudgingly admit they like it.

Sure, A-B is milking the success of its 2014 Super Bowl spot by using a dog to tug at the heartstrings, says Steven Addis, CEO of the Addis agency in Berkeley, Calif. But A-B takes this “drive responsibly” ad well beyond that. “There’s also an appeal for Millennials, in that the guy could be free enough to stay out all night,” says Addis.

The dog ultimately represents a ‘”starter relationship,” adds Addis, to show that we all want someone to be responsible to.

Even if that someone’s got dog breath.

USA Today Story

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