Equine star of popular ‘Puppy Love’ Super Bowl ad raised in Canada

Video: One of the favourite advertisements that aired during Sunday night’s Super Bowl featured an unlikely star from north of the border. Mike Drolet reports.

TORONTO – Canadians may not have seen all the much-hyped advertisements during Sunday night’s Super Bowl, but that doesn’t mean the all-American event didn’t have any Canuck content.

With 111.5-million U.S. viewers, and a further 7.3-million in Canada, Super Bowl XLVIII was the most-watched in history. The commercial spots were the most expensive for any TV broadcast in any given year.

READ MORE: Super Bowl commercials 2014: The best ads you may have missed

Denver Broncos fans who saw their team get trounced by the Seattle Seahawks on the football field may have found solace in yet another slate of highly-anticipated Super Bowl advertisements.

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While they ran the gamut from a Full House reunion selling yogurt to a bizarre Doberman-Chihuahua hybrid hawking Audis, Budweiser boasted one this year’s most-favoured ads –without even showing a bottle of beer.

The company’s “Puppy Love” ad depicts an unrelenting friendship between a precocious, young Labrador Retriever and a Clydesdale horse.

No matter how many times they get pulled away from one another, they find a way to reunite because they are, as the ad’s tag line says, “Best Buds.”

While the Super Bowl is a symbol of Americana, much like Budweiser beer, the commercial has a Canadian connection Super Bowl viewers – and more than 38 million viewers on YouTube – might not have been aware of.

The equine star of the ad and the puppy’s BFF hails from a farm in Elora, Ont.

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Alex, as he’s known at home, caught the eye of Budweiser’s talent scouts two years ago, his owner Susan James told Global News.

She said she got the call saying Alex would star in the Super Bowl ad a few months ago.

“I was thrilled,” James said. “I felt like Brad Pitt’s mother.”

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Budweiser needed a horse that could play off the puppy one moment and then chase down a car the next.

Alex’s temperament fit the bill.

“He’s always been playful,” said James, who raised Alex since he was a foal. “He loves people, he’s not standoffish.”

“He was full of beans from the moment he was born.”

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James noted the Clydesdale is a subtle reference to the famous beer.

Seneca College Creative Advertising program coordinator Anthony Kalamut explained Budweiser has a long history with  Clydesdales. “That’s how they delivered beer in Chicago and St. Louis. It’s their DNA, their brand DNA.”

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While Budweiser may not have needed an endearing commercial to score big with buyers, the ad was certainly a hit with Super Bowl viewers.

According to Time magazine, the 60-second advert was tops among online viewers on the website Hulu and on USA Today‘s Ad Meter.

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