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The story of Budweiser’s 9/11 ad that aired just once

If you weren’t yet alive or old enough to remember life in America following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, it’s probably hard to imagine why a beer commercial, of all things, is still pointed to as one of the most powerful tributes to the victims of the tragedy.

But the ad had nothing to do with beer, and it wasn’t really even a commercial.

Many who watched it during Super Bowl XXXVI on February 3, 2002 have never forgotten it.

The magic moment created by the 60-second spot was not easy to get.

The production company sought and received the approval of members of Congress. Then New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani granted special permission for shooting in the city, the only time any film company was allowed access in the months following the events in Manhattan.

Though it aired during a commercial break of the Super Bowl broadcast the following February, it is widely considered to be more tribute than ad. The company’s logo appears only once on the horse-drawn wagon at the end, and is absent from the closing frame.

After the Super Bowl broadcast, it never aired again.

Even so, it remains one of the most poignant and lasting memories of our country’s recovery following 9/11, and still holds up 18 years later as a breathtaking reminder of what we endured and overcame that day.

The company released an updated version of the same ad on the 10th anniversary of the attacks in order to raise awareness for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.


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