The Budweiser Clydesdale Makes An Emotional Comeback In This Super Bowl Commercial

Budweiser has tried a lot of different approaches in its Super Bowl commercials over the years, some more successful than others. While we can safely say that a little goes a long way when it comes to talking frogs, guys saying "Wassssssup," and crustaceans acting oddly, the one thing we can never get enough of is those gorgeous Clydesdales. (A cute dog or two never hurts, either.) The Clydesdales have been a central part of Budweiser's brand image for the past 70 years or so, People reports, and this year will mark the 47th anniversary of their first Super Bowl appearance.

This year, after sitting out the last Super Bowl with no ads whatsoever, Budweiser isn't going so much for the "awww" factor, but rather for drama. To this end, they've even enlisted the aid of an Oscar-winning director to help create their latest Super Bowl spot. According to People, "A Clydesdale's Journey" was brought to life by "Nomadland" director Chloé Zhao, the first non-Caucasian woman to bring home an Academy Award. So what is an Oscar winner doing directing commercials? Making one chock-full of all the pathos and symbolism you probably weren't expecting from a beer manufacturer, that's what.

The injured Clydesdale is all of us

A week and a half out from the big game, Budweiser followed what has become common practice of late by releasing its Super Bowl spot on YouTube. "A Clydesdale's Journey" starts off with a majestic beast thundering across a prairie of some sort, watched by the obligatory cute dog. After trying to jump a fence, the horse gets injured, and receives prompt medical attention while various people stand around pulling serious faces. In the end, the Clydesdale makes a full recovery and is back to thundering across the prairie, accompanied by dramatic music and the inspiring slogan "In the home of the brave, down never means out."

So what are we supposed to learn from this 60-second vignette? That Budweiser is nice enough not to shoot their expensive-to-feed horses when they become disabled? We'd certainly like to think so! It's probably supposed to be something more along the lines of "Even a pandemic can't keep a good beer company down," though. As Anheuser-Busch marketing VP Daniel Blake said in a press release (via People), this horsey tale was actually meant to show us that "by coming together" — and perhaps receiving appropriate medical treatment — "we can grow and move forward stronger than before." Sure, we'll drink to that.