9/11: Budweiser Updates ‘Respect’ Commercial to Mark 20th Anniversary

by Jon D. B.

“Twenty years later, we’ll never forget.” Clydesdales and all, Budweiser has updated their famous “Respect” ad to honor 9/11 twenty years on.

“By releasing the film sparingly, we preserve the significance of the day, and really pay the respect that those that were lost deserve,” Daniel Blake tells The New York Times. This sparsity is, as Blake says, all part of Budweiser’s plan to keep it classy.

Mr. Blake is vice president of marketing at Anheuser-Busch InBev, Budweiser’s parent company. The day ahead of 9/11’s 20th anniversary, he tells the Times that the company wanted to honor the day “obviously in a very subtle way, but it’s important to make sure that people know where the spot is coming from and who’s creating the film itself.”

It’s a fine line to walk, Clydesdales or no. Household names like Budweiser walk a tightrope when it comes to tragic events. If they do nothing to commemorate, the public will attack for their lack of patriotism. But if they release any sort of commemoration, the public will accuse of commercialization of tragedy.

Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.

As we can see above, Budweiser chose the “do” approach for 9/11’s 20th, but in a tremendously subtle way.

Come Saturday, September 11, 2021, this new version of their classic “Respect” ad will air during afternoon football, cites The New York Times. Within, the commercial will mark 20 years’ passing with their iconic eight Clydesdales pulling the equally-classic red Budweiser wagon.

Across the Brooklyn Bridge they go, onto the cobblestone of Lower Manhattan. Their destination lies in the grasses of Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ. Here, the horses bow their heads to the Manhattan skyline. Overhead, the Tribute in Light beacons pierce the night sky for all to see.

Budweiser Updates 2006’s ‘Respect’ Tribute to 9/11

“Twenty years later, we’ll never forget,” the ad concludes in silence.

Of the updated ad, “Budweiser is a proud partner of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. We support their mission to remember the victims and help educate a new generation,” the company says on their YouTube upload of the commercial. There, they offer for viewers to “Learn more at neverforget.org.”

The ad went live Friday, Sept. 10, but its origins stretch back to 2002, less than half a year after the September 11 attacks. “Respect” – as the commercial is titled – first aired during the 2002 Super Bowl.

In the time since, it has only been released or shown one other time on 2011’s 10th anniversary.

Initially, Budweiser would receive special permission from both Congress and then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to fly a helicopter over NYC and into NJ to capture footage for the ad following the horrific, devastating attacks in 2001.

For 2021’s 20th anniversary, this new version of the ad will air during the CBS broadcast of the Air Force Falcons and Navy Midshipmen college game. Then, it will run during the Yankees vs Mets on Fox later in the evening.