Amid the Super Blowout, as most fans had become bored to tears, Budweiser stirred the real thing.
The beer maker organized a true welcome home for a U.S. soldier returning from Afghanistan then filmed the town-wide event for national consumption in a land weary of war.
The cameras followed U.S. Army Lt. Chuck Nadd, 24, as he arrived back in Winter Park, Fla., with girlfriend, Shannon Cantwell, at his side. (They were later shown live in the crowd Sunday at the Super Bowl).
During 2014, tens of thousands of other American troops are exiting Afghanistan, bringing a formal end to America's longest military conflict.
Titled, "A Hero's Welcome," the spot offered one day of flag-waving, parade-marching, star treatment for a surprised Nadd -- all part of a larger bid, the creators said, to inspire more U.S. towns and cities to follow that lead and collectively turn out returning troops this year.
A cadre of local Vietnam veterans helped plan the giant surprise party for Nadd. Some of those same veterans acknowledged the irony they felt: There wasn't much public cheering when they returned in the 1960s and 1970s.