Sequels are tough. For every Godfather Part II, there's a Godfather Part III. But Budweiser and Anomaly had such a big hit with "Puppy Love" on last year's Super Bowl, they couldn't resist going back to the well for another look at the "Best Buds"—the Clydesdales and their favorite golden Lab. (Bud's actually calling it the third installment in a trilogy, counting 2013's "Brotherhood.")
And so here it is: "Lost Dog." Like last year's ad, it was directed by RSA's Jake Scott. We won't spoil the plot, such as it is—the title tells you most of what you need to know. The Clydesdales, of course, come to the rescue of the wayward puppy, whom you'll remember from the first ad has a tendency to roam and isn't too concerned for his own safety.
Once again, music plays a key role here. This time we get a reworked version of "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by the Proclaimers, performed by Sleeping at Last. It's a slow, acoustic version—more downbeat and poignant-sounding than last year's choice, which was "Let Her Go" by Passenger. ("Brotherhood" was set to Fleetwood Mac's classic hit "Landslide.")
"Lost Dog" is nicely produced, and will be well liked. But "Puppy Love" was a richer, more engaging story—that spot's subtle parallels between the puppy/Clydesdale and the horse trainer/puppy adoption owner built a real connection over 60 seconds. This spot leans more on simple cuteness. It's a decent sequel—but perhaps not a world-beating one.
Anheuser-Busch sent over these facts about "Lost Dog":
• Eight puppies—seven females and one male—are featured in the spot, all of which were just 11-12½ weeks old at the time of filming.
• Seven Budweiser Clydesdales underwent training for three months to fine-tune their skills for the ad.
• It was shot at a ranch outside Santa Barbara, Calif., in early December.
• Actor Don Jeanes reprises his role as Budweiser Clydesdale trainer for a third time. Don is originally from Houston and now lives in Los Angeles.
The ad premiered on NBC's Today show Wednesday, which aired some behind-the-scenes footage as well: