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Super Bowl xlviii

See CarMax's Tribute to The Slow Clap—In Both Human and Puppy Versions

In its first Super Bowl spot in three years, CarMax pokes fun at the time-honored tradition of the slow clap, and tosses an alternate take in for puppy lovers

The slow clap is a movie trope we've seen too many times—enough times that it's become its own cultural presence. The parodic Not Another Teen Movie rightfully mocked the cliche with a character who kept unsuccessfully attempting to start a slow clap at the wrong time. One thing we haven't seen, however, is a slow clap perpetrated by puppies. Not until now, anyway.

In the company's first Super Bowl ad since 2011's car wash spot, Carmax and agency Silver + Partners pay tribute to the slow clap with perhaps the most extensive iteration of all time. In a delightful alternate version, though, which Internet viewers are given the option to watch immediately after the original, the entire scene is recreated, shot-for-shot, with puppies standing in for their people predecessors.

The human version, directed by Harold Einstein of Station Film, begins with a man buying a car from a Carmax employee, and being glacially applauded for his efforts. Not only does the entire sales team join in, but then seemingly everyone in town gets in on the action—from little girls selling lemonade to the contestants of a pie-eating contest. Even former Goonie Sean Astin shows up in a letterman jacket, which makes sense since the football movie he starred in, Rudy, had a memorable slow clap of its own.

The alternate version of the ad, created by Imaginary Forces director Ronnie Koff, features puppies galore. These young canines have not been made to mash their paws together, a sight which would have been kind of troubling, but instead, they bark in slow syncopation, to replicate the effect. There's even a little puppy Sean Astin on hand, along with the puppy pie-eaters. Barking puppies seem to be a mainstay at the Super Bowl as of late. Now, if only there were some way to communicate our enthusiasm for them…