Every year, legions of football fans sit down to watch the Super Bowl. And each year, many of those might admit they tune into the game just to watch the commercials.

Since 1986, the hearts of horse lovers around the world have been captured by a series of ads featuring the majestic Budweiser Clydesdales, and particularly ones that feature the relationship of one horse and his Labrador retriever puppy pal. The initial ad called “Puppy Love” debuted at the 2014 Super Bowl and followed one puppy who was determined to find a home with his Clydesdale friend at a neighbouring farm. It was a viral smash:

The brand has been producing Super Bowl ads for decades and many can be viewed here.  After sitting out the 2021 Super Bowl ‒ choosing instead to use the marketing dollars to boost Covid vaccine awareness ‒ Budweiser went big, hiring Oscar winning director Chloé Zhao, who not only helmed last year’s Best Picture winner Nomadland, but also the incredible indie film The Rider, which showcases real-life former rodeo star Brady Jandreau, who plays a version of himself. Horse people appreciated the docu-drama style horse sequences for their real depictions of horse backing and ranch life.

This year’s ad brought back the pup, now a full-grown dog, and his Clydesdale bestie, who gets injured jumping a barbed-wire fence. Horse people will of course notice all sorts of errors in the ad in terms of accuracy – as we always do! – but its message of resiliency, recovery, and determination shines through. The ad reads “In the home of the brave, down never means out,” a reference to all we’ve been through since the pandemic began.