Feb 6, 2023
Move Over Crypto, Booze Ads Are Flooding the Super Bowl
(Bloomberg) -- Move over crypto. Booze is back.
For the first time in more than three decades, Super Bowl viewers will see ads from alcohol brands other than Anheuser-Busch InBev SA. In June, the Budweiser brewer gave up its rights as the exclusive alcohol brand in the big game, giving other beer and liquor makers a turn in the spotlight.
“We’ve been waiting over 30 years for this moment,” said Sofia Colucci, global vice president of marketing for the Miller brands at Molson Coors Beverage Co. “It took us less than 30 seconds to decide that we wanted to buy an ad.”
Heineken, Rémy Martin cognac and Crown Royal whiskey will also air ads during Sunday’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs on the Fox network.
The flood of alcohol commercials will help fill the void left by cryptocurrency companies. Last year, there were so many spots from the much-hyped sector that it was nicknamed the Crypto Bowl. Larry David, for example, starred in an ad for FTX that said: “Don’t be like Larry. Don’t miss out on the next big thing.”
But after crypto crashed last year, FTX and its peers abandoned plans to return to the big game, according to Mark Evans, head of ad sales at Fox Sports. FTX collapsed in November and its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, has been charged with fraud.
Despite concerns about a potential recession, advertisers were still willing to pay top dollar to be in the biggest TV event of the year. The 2022 Super Bowl drew 112.3 million viewers on NBC’s platforms.
Fox Corp. has sold out in-game Super Bowl commercials but is still selling spots for pregame and overtime, if there is one, Evans said. The network sold 30-second ads for over $6 million on average, with some exceeding $7 million, a record. The company expects to generate more than $500 million in advertising revenue from the game.
Many advertisers on Sunday will be familiar names, like Doritos and Pepsi. As always, celebrities will be everywhere. Many brands have already released teasers of their Super Bowl commercials online, hoping to spark conversations leading up to the game.
Some brands have teamed up. Netflix Inc., for instance, will have an ad with comic actor Will Ferrell driving electric vehicles in shows like Squid Game and Bridgerton, part of a partnership with General Motors Co. Netflix will also promote its upcoming golf documentary in an ad with Michelob Ultra.
Streaming services will be well represented. In addition to Netflix, Paramount+ will have an ad featuring Sylvester Stallone, whose family will star soon in a new reality series on the service.
Sports-betting apps will also be hard to miss. FanDuel’s first Super Bowl ad will feature a live field-goal attempt by former NFL star Rob Gronkowski. DraftKings Inc. will have a commercial with comedian Kevin Hart and famous athletes like David Ortiz and Julius Erving.
But there will be some notable differences this year, in part because of the slowing economy and tighter ad budgets. Fewer travel brands are expected to appear, according to the trade publication Ad Age.
And while crypto firms will be less visible, another buzzed-about technology will make an appearance. Avocados From Mexico will have an ad that directs viewers to a website where they can write tweets using the AI platform ChatGPT, the chatbot that’s become a viral hit.
But the biggest changes result from Anheuser-Busch not renewing as exclusive alcohol advertiser, a deal that began in 1989. The brewer, famous for spots featuring its Clydesdale horses, has retooled its marketing approach, though it will still have ads in the game.
Diageo Plc’s Crown Royal whiskey will have an ad starring Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl. Heineken will promote its nonalcoholic beer, with Paul Rudd starring as the Marvel superhero Ant-Man. Rémy Martin’s commercial will feature tennis icon Serena Williams.
For years, Molson Coors tried various tactics to grab attention during the Super Bowl, despite begin barred from buying a national ad in the game. The brewer of Coors Light and Miller Lite has run Super Bowl-oriented spots online and on local TV stations. Last year, it opened a bar in the Metaverse.
This year, leading up to its first national Super Bowl spot, Molson Coors is asking viewers to predict the details of its ad, like the number of beers, how many people have facial hair and the type of dog pictured behind the bar. Fans can make picks on DraftKings’ app and have a chance to win a share of $500,000.
The company filmed eight different endings to ensure secrecy and to account for multiple outcomes that people can bet on, said Scott Bell, chief creative officer at Droga5, which made the commercial.
“You want people talking about your spot as much as possible,” he said. “Being able to bet on the spot itself is a great vehicle for building excitement.”
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.