LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Budweiser and one of its famous Clydesdales will return to the Super Bowl in a commercial that celebrates the ability to overcome life’s challenges in a story directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Chloe Zhao.
The advertisement, released on YouTube on Wednesday ahead of this month’s National Football League championship, shows an injured Clydesdale working through setbacks with help from a vet, a stableman and an attentive dog before making a triumphant recovery. “Down Never Means Out” flashes on the screen.
“We all fall down in life and the journey to healing is often painful, long and solitary,” Zhao said in a statement. “To tell a story of perseverance, hope and friendship through the lens of the beloved Clydesdales really resonated with me.”
Budweiser posted a 60-second version of the commercial on YouTube and will run a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl on Feb. 13.
Brands are paying as much as $6.5 million for half-minute slots to try to stand out in front of the year’s biggest audience on U.S. television. The Super Bowl will be broadcast this year on Comcast Corp’s NBC network.
Budweiser, owned by Anheuser Busch Inbev SA, has made some of the most memorable Super Bowl commercials featuring frogs, puppies and the majestic Clydesdales, which have represented the brand in television ads since the 1950s.
Last year, the beer maker did not produce a Super Bowl TV ad for the first time in 37 years. Budweiser instead made a donation to support awareness of COVID-19 vaccines.
The company hopes its new ad will spark feelings of optimism among viewers after two years of challenges from the global pandemic.
“The story is really meant to parallel the resilience of the American people,” said Budweiser vice president of marketing Daniel Blake.
The company chose Zhao to direct the ad because of her “ability to capture true American character,” he added.
Zhao, who was born in China and now lives in California, won the best director Oscar last year for “Nomadland,” the story of van dwellers in the American West. It also was named best picture. Her other films include the 2021 Marvel movie “Eternals” and 2017’s “The Rider” about a cowboy trying to rebound after a near-fatal head injury.
“She captures the beauty in the everyday scenes, the scenes of Americana,” Blake said.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Leslie Adler)