The Budweiser puppy, which aired with just two minutes left in "a dog of a game" as USA Today put it, pranced off with the best-of-breed ribbon for Super Bowl commercials.
The paper said that for the second consecutive year — and the 12th time in the past 14 years — Anheuser-Busch won one America's most coveted of U.S. advertising honors - USA Today's consumer-judged Ad Meter for Super Bowl commercials.
The ad is about a spunky puppy who is adopted but keeps coming back home to the Clydesdale horse it loves.
An online audience of 6,170 preregistered panelists voted from across the country. The game had nearly 50 commercials watched by up to 110 million viewers.
Another A-B spot finished second- about a town's real welcome-home parade for a soldier returning from Afghanistan. Third was a commercial for Doritos in which a guy trades his Doritos for a trip in a "time machine" that he thinks is real.
"The puppy ad touched the depths of my soul," said Char Baringhaus, a language-arts teacher from Livonia, Michigan. "Nothing reaches raw emotion like the love of animals."
A week before the game, Budweiser posted the so-called "Puppy Love" Super Bowl spot on YouTube. By last night it had reached 35 million views, The ad was created by the ad agency Anomaly, also responsible for last year's winner.
USA Today said some of the Super Bowl commercials were overdone, but many told honest-to-goodness stories — with a beginning, middle and end. "There seemed to be a rediscovery among advertisers that Super Bowl viewers love nothing more than a story told well."