The most powerful Super Bowl commercial of the evening was for Budweiser beer, but it didn’t appear in the form of a 30-second TV ad during CBS’s broadcast of Super Bowl 50 Sunday evening.
While speaking to CBS Sports correspondent Tracy Wolfson after Sunday’s victory over the Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning mentioned that he intended to “drink a lot of Budweiser tonight” after his game responsibilities were done. It’s an utterance potentially worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in free publicity, given the fact that a 30-second spot in this year’s broadcast was worth anywhere from $4.5 million to more than $5 million.
And the endorsement raised a potential issue. Active NFL players are not supposed to recommend alcohol companies on air.
Manning “was not paid to mention Budweiser. We were surprised and delighted that he did,” said Lisa Weser, a spokeswoman for Anheuser, responding to a query via e-mail.
Manning is believed to have ownership stakes in some Louisiana beer distributorships that deal with Anheuser-Busch, so the player may have had his own reasons for plugging the brew – or perhaps he was just giving an honest detail about his plans for later this evening.
Manning led the Broncos to a 24-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers. There is much speculation over whether Manning, 39 years old, will step down from the NFL after this victory. He declined to say whether he would nor not when questioned by CBS’ Wolfson after the event.