This Adorably Squee Super Bowl Commercial Was Voted The Best of 2014

With everything said and done from last night's Super Bowl, we still have one crucial thing to discuss—which commercial was the big winner?

According to USA TODAY's Ad Meter, which is apparently a thing that exists, it was—DRUMROLL PLEASE—Yup, it was Puppy Love, Budweiser's super squee tearjerker featuring a puppy and a Clydesdale who just belong together, no matter what.

For the second consecutive year — and the 12th time in the past 14 years — Anheuser-Busch has earned one the most coveted of U.S. advertising honors, winning USA TODAY's consumer-judged Ad Meter for Super Bowl commercials. The ad, about a spunky puppy who is adopted but keeps coming back home to the Clydesdale horse it loves, gave more than a passing creative nod to a Budweiser spot that won last year's Ad Meter, about a savvy horse that keeps returning to its trainer.

For the 26th consecutive year, USA TODAY's Ad Meter reached out to consumers to vote for their favorite Super Bowl commercials. This online audience of 6,272 preregistered panelists voted from across the country. The game featured nearly 50 commercials that cost advertisers a record $4 million per 30-second slot for airtime on the Fox telecast, which was expected to be watched by up to 110 million viewers.

But we already knew the puppy and the horse won everything, didn't we?

Budweiser's parent company Anheuser-Busch also scored big with a commercial featuring a real welcome-home parade for a soldier returning home from Afghanistan. That spot placed second.

In third was Dorito's ad featuring the Cowboy Kid. (FYI, Dorito's gave their big Super Bowl commercial prize to an ad featuring the Time Machine.)

One thing the Ad Meter did show is how Anheuser-Busch has tapped into a successful formula for Super Bowl ads, one that's less about big laughs and more about stirring up our emotions. Neither this year's Puppy Love ad nor last year's Clydesdale ad (DON'T WATCH IT UNLESS YOU WANT ALL THE TEARS) have any dialogue and star Don Jeanes, who is apparently someone we are all in love with now because HORSIES.

As for what's in and out, overall in terms of these commercials?

Super Bowl 2014, in fact, may have marked a serious turning point for those Super Bowl advertisers.

Out: ads created just for cheap laughs or lookie-loos.

In: ads with fewer words, do-good messages and cinematic credibility.

Hmmm, no cheap laughs, huh? I'll believe that when I see it.


Image via Shutterstock