September 23, 2014 // Deborah Mance

Budweiser’s “Friends Are Waiting” Shows the Power of Video

If you’ve ever wondered about the benefits that video could bring to your marketing strategy, consider the power of Budweiser’s new one-minute public service announcement, “Friends Are Waiting.” Like many of the brewer’s past ads, this spot is so good, it has gone viral, amassing more than 7 million views on YouTube and social media in just a few days. (That’s not even counting television views!) It may be the most endearing “Don’t Drink and Drive” PSA ever made and, hopefully, one of the most influential.

In encouraging consumers to drink responsibly, the spot tells the story of a likeable twenty-something fellow and his yellow Labrador Retriever. It begins with the young man bringing his new puppy home and traces their deepening friendship over the years. The storyline (and the soundtrack "A lifetime is not long enough, to show you what you mean to me ... ") changes from carefree to melancholy as the now-grown dog whimpers and wonders when (if?) his friend will come home after having gone out with friends, Budweiser in hand. The young man finally arrives the next morning to his dog’s relieved, loving welcome.

This spot aims to convince those who might overindulge to “make a plan to make it home” because “your friends are counting on you.” In doing so, it extends Budweiser’s long-running series of brand building ads that showcase the relationships shared by animals and people. In the beer maker’s award-winning 2014 Super Bowl ad, "Puppy Love" earlier this year, an adorable, cuddly yellow Lab pup made friends with Budweiser’s famous Clydesdale horses. In the current spot, an equally adorable yellow Lab pulls on our heartstrings once again, showing the deep impact that one life can have on another, ever-so-gently delivering an important, serious message with real impact.

This ad is beautifully and simply written and produced. A solid, strong creative concept, minimal dialogue, a guitar-strummed score, a few short title slides, and warm, fuzzy video tell the story, make the point, and affirm the Budweiser brand. We applaud Momentum Worldwide, which produced this spot, and we believe that this PSA will persuade some of those millions of ad viewers to make smarter, more responsible choices when they do choose to drink.

“Friends Are Waiting” illustrates that, when conceived and executed well, video is unmatched in its power to inform, entertain and persuade. Where does video fit into your marketing strategy?

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