The New York Times, Feb. 10, 2023 by Lora Kelley
Beer ads are practically as characteristic of the Super Bowl as touchdowns. And they will be again this year, with one big change: They won’t all come from brands owned by Anheuser-Busch.
After three decades as the only alcohol brand to air its commercials nationally during the game, the parent company of Budweiser, Bud Light and Michelob Ultra gave up that exclusivity in June.
Cue the competitors — and a flood of beer and alcohol ads in Sunday’s national broadcast.
“It took us less than a minute to decide,” said Michelle St. Jacques, the chief marketing officer of Molson Coors, the parent company of brands including Coors Light and Miller Lite. “We were like, ‘Game on.’”
Jonnie Cahill, the chief marketing officer at Heineken, which will feature its alcohol-free Heineken 0.0 in a commercial on Sunday, said: “As a C.M.O., when that announcement was made, of course your eyes open up and you think, What if?” He added, “We’re delighted to be able to access the Super Bowl.”
Crown Royal and Rémy Martin will also run national Super Bowl commercials for the first time on Sunday. But Anheuser-Busch will still be the game’s largest advertising spender, with four ads: three minutes of national time and 30 seconds of regional time.
Paul Rudd as Ant-Man in a Super Bowl ad for Heineken this year.
The Super Bowl remains the most important event on the advertising calendar in the United States. In the two weeks surrounding the game last year, more than $1.6 billion was spent on beer, hard cider and malt beverages, and more than 60 million cases of those drinks were sold, according to Nielsen IQ.
Some advertisers paid Fox, which is broadcasting the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs, more than $7 million for a 30-second spot. Several forecasts predict that more than 110 million people will watch this year’s game.
Some brands, however, are pulling back on their marketing budgets in response to an uncertain economy. Mark Evans, executive vice president of ad sales for Fox Sports, said that “the enthusiasm to spend $7 million for 30 seconds waned a little bit” toward the end of 2022, but that the ad slots sold out by late January.