Why One of the Biggest Advertisers on TV Is Ditching an Iconic Ad Campaign That Has Been Airing for More Than a Quarter-Century

Nov 24, 2014  •  Post A Comment

[Editor’s note: After we ran this story this morning, Anheuser-Busch InBev, the brewer behind Budweiser, came out with a statement refuting the Wall Street Journal report we referenced in our story. The brewer is saying the Clydesdales will remain a part of the marketing effort behind Bud. Please click here to read more about the update to the story.]

We’ve seen these heart-tugging spots on television for more than 25 years, but now they are about to go away, as one of TV’s biggest advertisers ditches its iconic advertising campaign.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Budweiser is ditching the Clydesdales because it wants to appeal to younger consumers.

Since 1987, Budweiser’s holiday marketing has featured beautiful Clydesdale horses pulling a red sleigh, but this year they will stay in the stable, WSJ reports. Instead of running ads that appeal to many age groups, Budweiser has decided to target 21- to 27-year-olds in an attempt to halt a slide in sales, the Journal reports.

In 1988, Budweiser was producing almost 50 million barrels annually; last year, it was down to 16 million barrels. Sister brand Bud Light surpassed it in 2001 as the top-selling beer.

To replace the horses in this year’s holiday spots, Budweiser has a campaign that asks, “If you could grab a Bud with any of your friends these holidays, who would it be?” as people in their 20s look into the camera and name their friends, the story reports.

Another upcoming change? In 2015 Budweiser plans to sponsor food festivals and “add parties in college towns around a two-day music festival it started with Jay-Z in Philadelphia in 2012.”

Here’s a Clydesdales commercial from the Super Bowl earlier this year that has become a viral sensation, with more than 53 million views on YouTube:


  1. They are completely missing the real problem with their sales.

    I love the Clydesdales – most people do. But Budweiser Beer is crap.

  2. Budweiser is making a huge mistake. The clydesdales are much beloved and an enduring symbol of Budweiser. They are the best super bowl commercials out there.

  3. My best guess is that the REAL reason Budweiser is leaving the Clydesdale’s in the stable this year all has to do with the Animal Rights Wackos! Since de Blasio in New York banned the horse and carriages in New York City for reasons of “cruelty toward animals,” my bet is that Budweiser is afraid of law suits and bad publicity over the use of these horses! Once again, political correctness takes down another American institution! OBTW at Oktoberfest this year, where over ONE MILLION people showed up on opening day alone, one of the Bavarian Breweries had their own version of Clydesdales pulling a wagon of beer. Funny thing, the majority of young folks really took to the horses and of course, the festivities at Oktoberfest! So much for that Liberal crap!

  4. Thats a bummer about the clydesdales, always loved the horses. There is so much better beer out there, buds just a cheap buzz any more where someone wants quanity instead of quality.

  5. Maybe a car full of illegal Hispanics driving around, drinking, smoking dope, and then running over some white American girls wearing Heineken tshirts will be the demographic their new ads seek to capture.

  6. A couple of thoughts. The article mentions “a Clydesdale commercial from the Super Bowl earlier this year that has become a viral sensation, with more than 53 million views on YouTube.” Do they actually think they can create commercials without the iconic Clydesdale horses that will give them greater exposure? The articles also notes that Bud Light has outsold Budweiser. So what, isn’t that still the Budweiser co.? Finally, what dolt at Budweiser thinks the Clydesdale horses aren’t appealing to the “target 21- to 27-year-olds”?

  7. Big mistake, folks! Those beautiful commercials featuring the Clydesdales are a part of Americana. I know, it’s about the $$$, but does it always have to be about just that? I don’t even drink, never have, but I love the horses, and find the commercials to be so tasteful and appealing. They’re always relevant as well, like the one after 9/11. Please don’t take them away. Run all the commercials you feel you need to run, to cater to the rowdy and the immature – after all, maybe they’ll grow up eventually – but please don’t take away the warm and touching commercials featuring those magnificent Clydesdales. A person doesn’t have to be a beer-drinker to appreciate and be grateful for the feeling of pride and patriotism they bring, and the glimpse of warm, natural, grassroots America they provide.

  8. Unfortunately for many mainstream American beers, 21-27 year-old American men are falling in love with craft beers. At home, they may have a 12-pack of Bud Lights or Coors Light sitting in the fridge, but when out on the town, craft beers are increasingly the choice. Ditching the (fabulous) horses and their unique Americana does nothing to deal with this larger trend.

  9. Michael is correct. Budweiser needs to get some craft beers if they want to be relevant to the under 30 crowd.

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)