Best and Worst Super Bowl XLIX Commercials Go to the Dogs

Budweiser Lost Puppy Super Bowl commercial

Apparently there was another major sporting event yesterday besides Puppy Bowl XI.

For the second consecutive year, most viewers and critics chose a Budweiser “puppy” ad as the best Super Bowl XLIX commercial. The least-favorite ad, from Nationwide, also co-starred a boy’s best four-legged friend.

Favorite Super Bowl Ad: Budweiser’s “Lost Puppy”

Just as Budweiser’s viewer-favorite “Puppy Love” ad yanked hard at the heartstrings last year, this year’s “Lost Puppy” was equally tear-jerking. This ad was not the favorite of many wolf lovers — myself included — since it perpetuates the negative stereotype of these animals as snarling, dog-eating villains. If that scene could have been cut, this would rate a “pawfect” 10.

Least-Favorite Super Bowl Ad: Nationwide’s “Make Safe Happen”

If Nationwide was going after a Super Bowl buzzkill with this commercial, it sure succeeded. The spot begins with a boy riding a tricycle, his faithful dog by his side. And it just goes downhill from there. The boy dreams of all the things he’ll never get to do, like “ride a bike,” “travel the world with my best friend” (in a small boat with his dog) and get married (with his dog by his side) — because he “died from an accident.” Woo hoo!

Least-Seen Super Bowl Ad: GoDaddy’s Puppy for Sale

When people on social media became outraged over GoDaddy’s offensive parody of Budweiser’s “Lost Puppy” commercial, the company announced last week it would pull the ad. In the GoDaddy version, when the puppy finally makes it home, his pet parents are delighted to see him — but only because they’ve just sold him on a website they built using GoDaddy. Har, har, har! Some are saying this was all just a publicity stunt, and Go Daddy never intended to air the spot. Either way, just No, Daddy.

Most Important Super Bowl Ad: NFL’s “NO MORE” Domestic Violence PSA

There’s no dog in this chilling public service announcement — just the voice-over of an actual 911 call from a woman pretending to order a pizza, as the camera pans over the aftermath of a domestic-violence incident. This was the first-ever domestic violence ad to be shown during a Super Bowl game, airing as a result of NFL player Ray Rice being caught by an elevator camera punching his fiancee and knocking her unconscious. After that video leaked in September, calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline increased by 84 percent.

Why do people stay in abusive relationships? A study found that 25 to 50 percent of them don’t leave because of fear of what will happen to their dogs and cats. Many domestic violence survivors (70 percent) said their abusers also threatened, injured or killed their pets. In the past, domestic violence shelters did not allow pets, but, fortunately, that is changing across the country.

This ad has been criticized for showing the aftermath of domestic violence rather than how to prevent it. Maybe a future NFL “No More” PSA will focus on pet-friendly shelters.

Photo via YouTube

Laura Goldman

I am a freelance writer and lifelong dog lover. For five years, I was a staff writer for i Love Dogs. When that site shut down, I started this blog...because I STILL Love Dogs!