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Puppy and Clydesdale ad.

Budweiser

Persuasion Notebook offers quick hits on the business of persuasion from The Globe and Mail's marketing and advertising reporter, Susan Krashinsky. Read more on The Globe's marketing page and follow Susan on Twitter @Susinsky.

How do you get to be a fan favourite in the Super Bowl? Puppies will do.

Budweiser scored top marks in fan voting in AdBowl, an annual contest that aims to rate the best ads of the big game. Its sweet story of a friendship between a Labrador puppy and a Clydesdale was engineered for mass appeal – adorable animals, a hint of a love story, and a little something to tug at the heartstrings.

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The spot also won top spot in the Ad Meter, a voting-based competition for the best ads that USA Today hosts each year.

Meanwhile, in Canada, for the third year in a row Labatt Breweries put some investment into making an ad specifically for the Super Bowl, but tailored to audiences here. During last year's game, it unveiled its Red Light – a product fans could buy and program to go off just like a goal light every time their favourite team scores.

This year, Budweiser created a 21-metre "zeppelin" (which is technically, a blimp) designed to look like one of its lights, and introduced it during an ad that imagines Team Canada beating Russia in Olympic hockey – scenes of a dejected crowd in Moscow are juxtaposed with scenes of jubilant Canadians bathed in red light.

The zeppelin is a "gift for hockey fans," and its ad agency Anomaly Toronto has hinted that this is not the last we'll see of their flying machine.

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