Conventional media wisdom says a consumer must see/hear an advertisement at least three times before it makes any kind of impression. But there are exceptions, including one spawned by the September 11th, 2001 terror attacks.
The instantly indelible Budweiser TV commercial showed the brewer’s trademark Clydesdale horses traveling into New York City and bowing their heads in respect as they look out over the forever-changed New York City skyline.
The ad aired only once, during the 2002 Super Bowl, just four months after the World Trade Center had come crashing down at the cost of 2,606 lives.
Budweiser’s advertising team pulled off a near miracle in producing the spot so quickly and so soon after the attacks. For openers, the Clydesdales had to be trained to bow their heads on command. That alone took 45 days. Bud also had to get permission from federal, state and city authorities to close roads and fly a helicopter into still-restricted airspace to get the necessary footage. That always-difficult task was complicated by the city’s lingering wariness and anxiety in the months after the attack.
I love this ad. It reminds me how, despite all our differences, Americans always come together and stand shoulder-to-shoulder to support each other in the hard times. That’s a lesson worth remembering in this contentious political season.