A rescue dog named Weego that fetches Bud Light when called fetched something even more prized -- the coveted Cocky Award for best commercial in the ninth annual Super Ad Poll.
M&Ms "Ms. Brown" and Doritos "Man's Best Friend" commercials took second and third place respectively in the University of South Carolina poll, which took place during the Super Bowl at the studios of local NBC affiliate WIS-TV.
More than 100 students and faculty participated in the event, which is part of journalism professor Bonnie Drewniany's "Super Bowl Advertising" classes. The students critiqued the national ads that aired during Super Bowl XLVI for likeability, persuasiveness and brand identity.
The public weighed in through an online poll, also voting loveable Weego as its winner. Kia's "Extreme Dream Sequence," created by alumnus Justin Bajan, and the Chrysler Detroit ad, took the second and third spots in online voting.
Freshman Kirkland Gray of Rock Hill called the "Here, Weego" ad a winner.
"The commercial featured a scruffy dog that fetches Bud Light, a clever pun and a good cause [animal rescue]," said Gray. "We knew we had a winner."
Junior Stephen Bandstra of Sumter liked the ad's animal rescue message.
"Adorable dog plus a great cause equals a great ad," Bandstra said. "I was quite pleased that Bud Light is supporting the adoption of animals with an ad and is willing to place it in the Super Bowl."
Dustin Martin, a senior broadcast major from Gaffney, said the ad was his favorite.
"The winning ad 'Here, Weego, Bud Light' was compelling because it started with a bit of a surprise, and Bud Light was able to put their slogan 'Here We Go' in the commercial very creatively," Martin said. "The different drinking scenarios were well thought, with the dog getting single beers, six packs and even a keg for a group of people. It also was funny, which always helps a commercial."
Martin described this year's crop of ads as conservative.
"There were very few ads that were edgy or racy. There was also a slight lack of humor from some of the heavy hitters like Coca Cola, Pepsi and Budweiser," said Martin, who has changed the way he looks at ads as a result of the class. "It's interesting to see how they are strategically placed during the game. With having this class, I can appreciate the time, effort and money that goes into making Super Bowl ads."
Drewniany said the early release of some ads may have dampened their impact.
"So many commercials were released online before the Super Bowl that I think the ad game was a bit diluted this year. Our two top spots, however, weren't part of that pregame early-release frenzy," said Drewniany. "Bud Light found a clever way to reinforce its slogan, 'here we go.' Weego tugged at viewers' hearts and told the important story of helping rescue dogs."
Last year's winner was Volkswagen's "Darth Vader."
Drewniany will invite the creative team responsible for the Bud Light ad to campus to receive the award in April.
Every year, the winning advertising team has claimed the Cocky Award and shared with students the inside scoop on how the commercial was made.
Creative teams have claimed four Cockys for comedic Bud Light ads. 2010 marked the first time a consumer-created spot won the poll, with "Snack Attack Samurai" creator Cole Koehler claiming his prize.
Drewniany has studied Super Bowl advertising for 20 years and has taught the nation's only course on the subject for nine years. The School of Journalism and Mass Communications course, which covers advertising principles and the relationship between culture and advertising, includes the annual Ad Poll and Cocky Award.
This year Drewniany's course was expanded to include a large undergraduate section and an honors section.
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