Friday, 7 May 2010
9/11: Budweiser tribute / 'How to Save a Life' tribute
Aired only once during the 2002 Super Bowl, Budweiser's 'Clydesdale Respect' commercial pays tribute to those affected by the tragic events of 9/11. The minute long commercial features the beer company's trademark team of Clydesdale horses trudging across snow in New York until they stop to gaze upon the city's skyline and lower their heads on bended knees in a gesture of respect. The Super Bowl has long been one of the most watched television programs and therefore one of the premier venues for advertisers. Although most Super Bowl commercials are of the upbeat variety, Budweiser's commercial during the XXXVI Super Bowl was of a decidedly different nature in its moving sentiment. Shown five months on from the attacks, this commercial is just as moving as tribute videos loaded with footage of the attacks themselves. The simplicity of the emptiness of New York, the cold of the snow and a sensation of the seasonal transition between the Autumn attacks and the Winter creates a melancholy tone and allows the audience to pay respect to the victims of the tragic event in a reflective way.
The video above is a user-made commemorative video of 9/11 created 7 years after the attacks. I have selected it as it slickly incorporates dialogue, archive footage of the twin towers, real footage of the attacks, public responses and reconstructed footage from the Discovery Channel of inside the towers which gives the video an "inside" feel. The song which accompanies the video is The Fray's 'How to Save a Life' which is a fitting tribute to all the heroes that lost their lives trying to save others. Several users comment that the video looks like a movie and while I agreed with them I wasn't surprised when I saw it was made in 2008. A few years after the attacks I began to ponder when credible films and dramatisations would be made of 9/11. Of course there is United 93 and Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, but there has been little focus on the Twin Towers' attacks themselves since it is a very sensitive issue in America. However, it is inevitable that these films will be made eventually and I feel this video directly suggests that. Part of contemporary American identity is the desire to see gritty reality which is exemplified in the popularity of YouTube and to some extent news reports too.