Puppies, basically. That’s the secret to a great Super Bowl spot. Looking back over the best-loved, highest-rated Super Bowl commercials of the past decade or so, the trend is undeniable: Super Bowl ads with charming animals get high marks. And puppies are about the most charming animals around.

Ah, but wait, there’s a catch here! After all, last year the, 2015 GoDaddy Super Bowl commercial was almost this spot, titled “Journey Home”:

Now, that is, for all intents and purposes, a puppy. A damned cute one, too. Yet this commercial was panned and ridiculed with such ferocity that GoDaddy pulled the spot from the 2015 Super Bowl commercial lineup, never even airing it. (Fortunately, the internet never forgives and never forgets, so we can still show it to you over and over again.)

So clearly puppies alone aren’t enough. Wait… does that mean a great Super Bowl commercial needs yet another element? Let’s take a look at one of the most celebrated Super Bowl ads of all time, 2015’s Budweiser Super Bowl commercial called “Lost Dog”:


Admit it: you’re tearing up, aren’t you? You ARE. Ha. Well… we would be too, except that we’ve seen this ad so very, very many times now. Why has this commercial watched more than 30,000,000 times online so far? Partially it’s because of the puppy. In fact largely because of the puppy, but the secret ingredient is… story. You want more proof? So far, the 2014 Budweiser Super Bowl commercial “Puppy Love” has been watched nearly SIXTY million times online!