The Chiefs Didn't Win - Bear Did!


February 14, 2023


You saw it. I saw it. The Chiefs didn't win the Super Bowl. Bear the Dog did! Welcome to “3” - three insights in about three minutes. I'm Drew Dinkelacker.

For over ten years, I've been a voting panelist on USA Today's Ad Meter rating of Super Bowl commercials. With 50 contestants striving for the top spot this year on the Ad Meter, "Forever" was the #1 spot from pet food manufacturer The Farmer's Dog. The spot chronicles the life of both a puppy named Bear and a young girl. Sweet cameo moments are featured between them including playing chase, going for walks, snuggling, girl going off to college, a wedding, a new home, a new baby all book-ended by the girl quietly singing to Bear that, "I'm going to love you, forever." Of course, these scenes are interspersed with Bear licking his lips and getting fed a bowl of Farmer's Dog dog food. It's all very sweet.

So, why did this spot rise to the top?   One reason is obvious…DOGS. Seventy-four percent of pet owners say that they own a dog. In the same poll, only 47% own cats. In previous years, Budweiser consistently Top 10 success in the Admeter ratings with a Clydesdale horse and his little buddy, a Lab Retriever. Dogs are a proven formula, so much that the #3 spot from Amazon also told a chronological dog story. When almost 75% of the viewing market has a positive feeling towards dogs, that is audience worth connecting with.

The scenes were relatable and very well-articulated. The visuals told a powerful story. Watch the spot with the sound turned off. It still generates an emotional reaction…and that is a must to make connections with the audience during boisterous Super Bowl parties.

Finally, the story of Bear and the girl not only generated an emotional reaction…no, it wasn't a shallow giggle. It didn't cause you to pause and think conceptually about anything…what it did was release a deep-seated emotionally-human response of memories, love, tenderness, and, on Bear's part, the desire of not being forgotten and being loved. Something that we can all relate to. These emotions are a direct connect to our desire to care…and, of course, that's what the folks at The Farmer's Dog are hoping for. Real Food. Made Fresh. Delivered.

So, what have we learned?

--Finding the common denominator in your audience can prove valuable.

--Visuals are powerful. How well can you tell your story with as little audio or text as possible?

--If you want to connect on an emotional level, you'll need to tell an authentic story that is relatable. Right after you have done that and connected with your audience, deliver your message or call-to-action…Real Food. Made Fresh. Delivered.

Super Bowl commercials deliver lots of insights for your business, and you don't need a $7 million dollar budget to leverage them.

 I’m Drew Dinkelacker, president of, where we optimize marketing leadership.