It’s every TV marketer’s dream – producing a commercial that’s not only a huge hit on screen, but online as well. The new “Friends Are Waiting” Budweiser commercial stars an adorable pup named Cooper that has stolen the hearts of 16 million online fans who have viewed the spot on YouTube. That’s right. In just one week, Budweiser has generated an instant Internet sensation with a TV commercial that relays a powerful message: Don’t drink and drive because friends are waiting for you.
As posted by USA Today on Sept. 25, the role of Cooper is actually played by five different dogs of varying ages. Like last year’s Budweiser Super Bowl ad titled “Puppy Love,” the beer giant turns to canine companions to tell its message. In this case, the message isn’t about the King of Beer; it’s about the perils of drinking and driving. In “Friends Are Waiting,” the human star decides to stay at a friend’s house after a night of drinking. The end result is a happy doggie and a safe, responsible owner.
The 60-second TV commercial will be supported with paid media, according to the brewer. The ad’s release is timed with Budweiser’s fifth-annual “Global Be(er) Responsible Day” (Friday, Sept. 26), when the brewer “promotes responsible drinking worldwide,” according To Ad Age, a respected industry magazine and authority in the world of advertising.
There’s no doubt that “Friends Are Waiting” is yet another monster hit in a long string of award-winning Budweiser TV commercials. As of 1 p.m. on Friday, the commercial has generated 16,499,145 views on YouTube. Plus, people are buzzing about it on social media. “FriendsAreWaiting is a hotter than hot hashtag on Twitter. “Hard not to go awwwww when you see this @Budweiser ad,” Jennifer Mayerle tweeted on Sept. 26. The Fairfield Police Dept. also supported “Friends Are Waiting” by posting, “Next time you go out, be sure to make a plan to get home safely. Your friends are counting on you. #FriendsAreWaiting.” Renee Oteri from “The Bachelor” added her thoughts by tweeting, “Budweiser gets the ‘Don’t Drink + Drive’ message across with a whole lot of cuteness. Be Responsible.”
So, people absolutely love “Friends Are Waiting,” but what do TV insiders think? Barrett Tyron from KLAS-TV wrote, “This one has a powerful message.” Ashton Towers from Fox 13 added, “Bet you’ll tear up watching the new anti-drinking and driving ad.”
Budweiser once again knocks it out of the park and scores a grand slam. If you haven’t yet seen “Friends Are Waiting,” be sure to check out the above video, but grab a tissue first.