There were many tributes to America following the 9/11 terror attacks, but few packed the emotional punch like this one featuring Anheuser-Busch’s iconic Clydesdales giving a bow to New York in the aftermath of the attacks. Though only aired once on television, it remains one of the heart-warming tributes.
Yet the commercial almost didn’t get made. Despite the beverage giant’s love for the concept, the idea of closing down parts of the city, particularly to fly a helicopter and film a commercial was not an easy thing to make happen. But the company According to KTVI, Anheuser-Busch’s creative team came up with the concept and moved heaven and earth to make the commercial. They had to get approval from members of Congress, the advertising community and from New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani.
“We filmed in New York City,” said Bob Lachky, former executive vice president of Anheuser-Busch Global Creative. “We had a helicopter going over the Brooklyn Bridge. Mayor Giuliani let us into the city — the only film company of any sort right after 9-11. To actually come into air space with our helicopter to film the Clydesdale… the hitch coming into Battery Park and it was amazing…just amazing.”
It was amazing, especially considering how New York was a city still hurting. And yet a St. Louis-based company, touched by the pain of the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil, took a risk to help one of our favorite cities and our nation heal.
“The police were very, very nervous about everything that was going on in the city at that time,” Lachky said.
The company’s logo is absent throughout the entire video until the very end.
Here is that incredible video, aired just one time during Super Bowl XXXVI on February 3rd, 2002:
Budweiser did create a remake of the commercial, featuring Freedom Tower proudly rising in the New York City skyline, to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of the attacks.
“We feel our 9/11 Clydesdales tribute ad is very special,” Paul Chibe, VP-marketing at Anheuser-Busch, said. “We were proud to re-air the spot on Sunday, the 10th anniversary, as a way to help raise awareness of the fundraising campaign for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. The subtle changes in the ad were intended to reflect the passing of time, and the most important point, that we should never forget those lost and affected by 9/11.”