"Straight from the horse’s mouth: The Budweiser Clydesdales are here to stay"+ READ ARTICLE
What’s the only thing that will make you cry harder than Budweiser’s tear-jerker “Puppy Love” ad, in which a golden retriever and a Clydesdale horse form an interspecies friendship, set to a bittersweet Fleetwood Mac song? Reports that the beer titan is ditching its heartwarming Clydesdale campaign for Jay-Z, zombies, and other millennial-grabbing ephemera.
In a Monday piece about Budweiser’s reported millennial problem — 44% of 21-27 year-olds have never tried a Bud — the Wall Street Journal reported that the company’s iconic “Clydesdales are out” and that “February’s Super Bowl ads will feature something more current than last year’s Fleetwood Mac.”
Luckily for you nostalgia lovers, that is actually not the case.
“Let me be clear,” Budweiser VP Brian Perkins said in a statement emailed to TIME. “Straight from the horse’s mouth: The Budweiser Clydesdales are here to stay and will continue to play a central role in our campaigns, including holidays and Super Bowl.”
Budweiser sent TIME its new holiday ad, which melds millennials and Clydesdales, which can be viewed above.
This isn’t just good news for puppy lovers. It benefits Budweiser, as well.
Currently clocking 53 million YouTube views and counting, “Puppy Love,” made by ad agency Anomaly, was a the most viral ad of the Super Bowl. And according to Unruly Media’s measurements, three of the four most shared Super Bowl ads of all time starred the Budweiser Clydesdale’s. (This includes “Puppy Love,” “Brotherhood,” and its 9/11 tribute.)
Co-founder and chief operating officer of Unruly Media, Sarah Wood, told TIME that when it comes to driving sharing and brand metrics, “It’s the strength of emotional connection, and the goal for all savvy advertisers in 2015 should be valuable virality.”
But if millennials aren’t drinking Budweiser, does the fact that the ads get shared even matter?
Let’s look at it this way. According to a 2014 Unruly report analyzing Super Bowl ad statistics, not only didn’t ads with celebrities drive online sharing, but they also didn’t provide for brand recall.
You might remember that Ben Kingsley was in a Super Bowl spot, but do you remember that he was selling a Jaguar? Chrysler might have made a beautiful ad starring Bob Dylan, but according to Unruly, only 7% of people who watched the ad realized that it was for Chrysler.
Budweiser’s Clydesdales, on the other hand, boasted 89% consumer recall.
“We are excited to see exactly how much the Clydesdales can still touch the hearts and minds of our passionate fan base,” Budweiser’s Perkins says. “There have never been any plans to remove our beloved Budweiser Clydesdales from our brand identity. In fact, we can confirm they will return to the Super Bowl in 2015.”
Of course, if Budweiser wanted to have Jay-Z and Beyoncé come in riding the Clydesdales in an upcoming tear-jerker Super Bowl ad, we won’t complain.
Here are some past Clydesdale Super Bowl ads: