University of South Carolina

Clydesdales take top honors in USC ad poll

By Megan Sexton,, 803-777-1421

The Budweiser Clydesdales rode off with the coveted Cocky Award for the best Super Bowl commercial in the University of South Carolina's 10th Super Ad Poll.

The spot, which tells the story of the bond between a Clydesdale and its trainer and features the song "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac, came in first in the overall, likeability and brand identity categories. It finished second in persuasiveness.

More than 100 students in advertising professor Bonnie Drewniany's "Super Bowl of Advertising" class gathered Sunday evening to watch the commercials (and the game). The students critiqued the national ads that aired during the game for likeability, persuasiveness and brand identity.

"Budweiser had great brand ID and had a sweet story," said Drewniany, who has studied Super Bowl advertising for more than 20 years.

The students voted the Tide Joe Montana Stain ad second and the Oreos Cookie Debate placed third. In the online voting open to the general public, the Clydesdale ad was the clear winner, followed by the Paul Harvey farmer/Ram truck ad.

Student Kim Barrett, a senior public relations major from Philadelphia, said the Clydesdales ad was her top choice.

“Budweiser told a story in 30 seconds and captivated the Super Bowl audience with their classic Clydesdales,” she said. “I also enjoyed it because it is a reflection of the brand. They didn't try and use sophomoric humor or bad celebrity endorsements. They stayed true to the brand and went with a concept that has been successful in the past and that's why it worked.”

One common theme this year that was not evident in previous years was the integration of Twitter into the ads, Barrett said.

“Pretty much all of the commercials had a hashtag on screen during the entire commercial or on the last frame with the brand name. By using hashtags, brands were trying to encourage viewers to talk about their commercials on the second screen - iPads and smartphones. Companies could follow what the Super Bowl audience thought about their ad by following the hashtags associated with their commercials,” she said.

Dominique Johnson, a senior broadcast journalism major from Columbia, said she also favored the Budweiser Clydesdales ad because it was “emotional, funny and didn't go over the edge with stupid jokes or slapstick comedy.”

“When the farmer drove to Chicago to see his horse, I started tearing up, and that's how I knew it was good,” Johnson said.

She also wasn’t a fan of the Go Daddy commercial, featuring a long kiss between a model and a geek (which ranked close to the bottom in the USC student poll).

“No one needs a close up of people kissing for over 10 seconds. Ever. Under any circumstance,” she said.

Advertising major Hunter Scofield of LaPlata, Md., said his top pick was the Oreo cookie or cream debate commercial.

“It was extremely likable since it takes place in a library and as a college student that's my second home, but it's also a debate many of us has had, or will now have,” Scofield said.

This is the 10th year USC has offered the class that covers advertising principles and the relationship between culture and advertising. Each year, the winning advertising team has come to Columbia, S.C., to claim the Cocky award and to speak to students in the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies.

The 2012 winner was Weego the Bud Light dog.

News and Internal Communications

Posted: 02/04/13 @ 10:00 AM | Updated: 02/04/13 @ 4:53 PM | Permalink