The matchup on the football field was seemingly decided about 12 seconds after kickoff, and the battle to decide the best Super Bowl commercial has also been a landslide. Budweiser, their famous Clydesdale horses and a very adorable puppy have claimed the top prize according to a variety of metrics.
Anheuser-Busch’s “Puppy Love” ad, developed by the agency Anomaly, was voted the top commercial during the game by viewers on Hulu. It also earned the top spot on USA Today’s Ad Meter, which is calculated through online surveys of Super Bowl viewers each year. The spot is also dominating the other ads on YouTube, where it has racked up more than 37 million views since Wednesday, and it’s easily lapping the other ads in terms of social activity, according to media metrics firm iSpot.
The success of “Puppy Love” points to a larger trend of ads aiming for emotional resonance instead of cheap laughs (remember when “Wassup?” became a phenomenon?). A second Budweiser commercial about a veteran returning home from war and a Coca-Cola spot featuring children singing “America the Beautiful” in various languages also scored high marks with viewers.
Humor is still alive and well in Super Bowl advertising, but much of it is happening on social media now instead of television. A tweet by Hillary Clinton poking fun at Fox News has racked up almost 55,000 retweets, and brands and fans alike spent much of the game trying to out-snark each other online.