Rating the Super Bowl’s Beverage Ads

Helen Mirren, superheroes, that puppymonkeybaby thing: See them all here

Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News

puppy monkey baby

SAN FRANCISCO -- Pepsi and Budweiser walked away from Super Bowl 50 as winners.

With Pepsi’s sponsorship of the halftime show (promoted seven times during the first half) and its ubiquitous logo above what seemed to always be the scoring end zone, the soda brand definitely got its share of screen time.

Meanwhile, a more subtle Anheuser-Busch, spreading its five ads across four of its brands, had to wait for the post-game to earn its ROI when winning quarterback Peyton Manning said he planned to drink a lot of Budweiser.

CSP beverage editor live-Tweeted the Super Bowl 50 beverage ads. Check out his feed at @CSPreports.

In all, there was a mixed bag of beverage ads during Super Bowl 50. Here’s a look at how each fared in PackBev E-News’ eyes:


Michelob Ultra

With all the athletes catching their breath, was this an ad for Gatorade? Vitaminwater? Muscle Milk? No—Michelob Ultra!

Points for being unexpected.

Fumble for trying to link working out with drinking beer and, by pure coincidence(?), being very similar to an Apple Watch ad that ran in the second half of the game.

Did it make us want to try the product? No.


Mtn Dew Kickstart

Puppy + monkey + baby = Dew + juice + caffeine? We hope Mountain Dew knows who its target audience is, because it’s clearly not us.

Points for carrying over the strange, uncontrollable dancing enduced by Kickstart from a previous ad.

Fumble for the creepy puppymonkeybaby.

Did it make us want to try the product? In a weird way, yes.

Shock Top

A “better beer” gets play during the Super Bowl! It’s A-B’s biggest move yet to embrace the craft-beer trend with a nice touch of humor.

Points for bringing something new and different to Super Bowl viewers.

Fumble for, well, should we know who this T.J. Miller guy is?

Did it make us want to try the product? Sort of.

Bud Light

Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen mix political humor with their trademark risqué attitudes to unveil the “Bud Light Party.”

Points for establishing a campaign that can carry on through the election, which I hope it does.

Fumble for a clunky catchphrase: Raise One Right Now.

Did it make us want to try the product? Yes.


Ant-Man shares his #Cokemini with the Hulk? Great embrace of superhero culture. Effective display of Coke’s smaller product size as it struggles with the anti-obesity movement.

Points for carrying the promotion over onto social media.

Fumble for not letting the poor Hulk open his can of soda.

Did it make us want to try the product? Yes.



No real ad, but the halftime-show introduction promised “50 years of music.” We’d say it didn’t deliver on that promise.

Points for evoking nostalgia.

Fumble for falling through on anything beyond a Madonna remix that evolved into an old Pepsi jingle.

Did it make us want to try the product? No.



With the slogan “None of this makes sense,” Bai lived up to that with a nonsensical commercial. As nice as it was to see a small up-and-comer grab some time during the big game, this one didn’t quite explain what it was to the uninitiated.

Points for a funny, eye-catching ad.

Fumble for not delivering a salient message.

Did it make us want to try the product? Curious, yes, but not enough to seek it out.

Budweiser (Clydesdales)

The Clydesdales are back with a vengeance! "Not small. Not a hobby. Not imported!" Bud throws down on the mega-brew haters.

Points for staking a claim.

Fumble for negating the message set in an earlier Shock Top commercial.

Did it make us want to try the product? Yes.

Budweiser (Helen Mirren)

Bud dedicates its second ad, positioned near the end of the game, to disparage drunk driving via none other than Academy Award winner Mirren. “If you drive drunk, you—simply put—are a shortsighted, utterly useless, oxygen-wasting human form of pollution, a Darwin-award-deserving selfish coward,” she says in the ad. Well, OK then.
Points for a strong and timely message that downplayed the brand.

Fumble … none.

Did it make us want to try the product? No.

Steve Holtz, CSP/Winsight By Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News
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