Top 10 spirits Super Bowl adsBy Georgie Collins
Ahead of ‘the big game’ this weekend, we look back at the best Super Bowl ads from spirits brands in recent years.
While it may feel like alcohol advertising goes back a long time, the spirits industry didn’t actually start advertising on television in the US until 1996, when Crown Royal tested the medium in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Up until then, the industry had a self-imposed ban on TV advertising as part of the liquor world’s self-regulatory style to prevent another Prohibition.
Even after spirits brands began advertising on TV, many networks still prohibited it, and sports took it the most seriously of them all.
The NFL (National Football League) finally decided to loosen its grip on liquor advertising and give spirits an equal footing to beer in 2017, and since then spirits brands have been putting their best foot forward when it comes to utilising the world’s most coveted advertising slot.
Keep scrolling to see the top spirits brands Super Bowl ads that have aired in the last few years.
Cutwater Spirits – Here’s to the Lazy Ones
Cutwater’s 2022 Super Bowl ad celebrated the everyday ingenuity of those who work smarter, not harder, including consumers that enjoy the convenience of bar-quality cocktails in a can, such as their own.
Here’s to the Lazy Ones redefines lazy as ingenious, because the ones who make ‘the most of their time are the ones who are ahead of it’.
Throughout, people are seen utilising ‘lazy’ life hacks to create an easier life, including tenderising steak with a muscle gun, and using a flame-thrower to clear snow from a driveway.
The ad, shot in black-and-white, highlights the Cutwater products in technicolour.
Crown Royal – Dave Grohl practices gratitude
Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl practices gratitude in the trailer ad for Crown Royal’s 2023 Super Bowl ad (yes, adverts get trailers now), in which he thanks the various items in his recording studio for their functionality, while sipping on a glass of Crown Royal whisky, on ice, which he also thanks.
The trailer is one of several that have been released by the Canadian brand in the run up to Super Bowl XXIII, which also includes a two-minute-long video in which Grohl plays an epic rock cover of O Canada with Canadian guitar legend, Donna Grantis.
The brand advises viewers to tune in to ‘the big game’ on 12 February for ‘our biggest thank you yet’.
Michelob Ultra-Organic Seltzer – All Star Cast
In Michelob’s 2021 Super Bowl Ad, you’d be forgiven for thinking the hard seltzer brand had roped in an all-star cast for the minute-long ad, as it appears to feature the likes of Megan Fox, Usher, Serena Williams, and the voice of Wedding Crashers star Christopher Walken.
Throughout the ad, the A-list stars talk about the want for a hard seltzer with no artificial after taste, sugar, or carbs, and one that is USDA-certified organic. However, as Oceans Eleven star Don Cheadle parachutes onto a super yacht, it soon becomes apparent that the ad has been focusing on look-a-likes.
“In a world where most things seem real,” he says, “sometimes they’re not.”
The ad ends with Cheadle cracking open a can of the product as he declares: “New Michelob Ultra-Organic Seltzer is real, and it tastes that way.”
Jim Beam – Raised Right
For Jim Beam’s 2019 campaign, Raised Right, the Bourbon brand looked to celebrate the lasting legacy of Jim Beam.
The spot marked the brand’s first global ad campaign in five years, and remembered how the family-run brand rebuilt itself in the wake of Prohibition.
Zeroing in on James B Beam, who was the head of the whiskey family in the 1930s, the minute-long ad demonstrates how Beam called on close friends to help him quickly rebuild the Beam distillery from the ground up in 120 days.
“He didn’t have much time, he didn’t have much money, but he did have a few good friends – people who were raised the right way,” the voiceover says.
As the ad travels in time from the 1930s to the present day, the voiceover credits the work of those who helped: “It’s because of them we can raise this Bourbon today.”
Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer – The Pitch
Airing just after the coin toss of the 2019 Super Bowl, The Pitch by Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer played upon the idea of things that are ‘too good to be true’, such as a hard seltzer that has 0g of sugar.
The ad takes place underwater, where ‘founders’ Bonnie and Vivian are depicted as two mermaids pitching their alcoholic sparkling water brand to a panel of sharks, in a nod to the US TV show Shark Tank.
“Let us tell you, the myth is real,” they say, before asking the panel what they think.
Much like the mythical plot of the ad, Bonnie and Vivian are made-up characters. When AB InBev acquired the brand in 2016, the company decided to rebrand it from Spiked Seltzer to Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer — a play on the phrase ‘bon vivant’ — to help it stand out from the rest of the fizzy water pack.
Hennessy VS – Major
Narrated by hip-hop legend Nas, Hennessy’s debut Super Bowl commercial brought to life the spirit of the brand’s ‘never stop. never settle’ mantra.
The ad, called Major, explored the story of cycling champion Marshall ‘Major’ Taylor, who in the late 1890s became the best cyclist of his time, holding seven world records by 1898, and in 1899 became one of the first African Americans to win a world championship.
The ad premiered during the 2019 Super Bowl, a year that marked Major’s 30th anniversary of being inducted into the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame.
The Botanist – The Spirit of Community
Rémy Cointreau-owned Islay gin brand The Botanist made a major investment in its first TV spot with an ad campaign that aired during the Super Bowl in 2022.
The commercial was created to shine a spotlight on the plight of the hospitality industry during the Covid-19 pandemic, amid rolling lockdowns, economic uncertainty and forced closures.
The Botanist gin, which is made at the B Corp-certified Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay, partnered with the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) on the project, with the aim of giving aid to independent bars, restaurants and other venues as they fought for survival.
Jack Daniel’s – Our Responsibilities
In 2020, Tennessee whiskey brand Jack Daniel’s dipped its toe into the world of Super Bowl advertising for the first time with an ad that told the story of Jack Daniel’s workers and their responsibilities, from the distillers and heavy lifters, to the distillery tour guides and local fire department, who protect the whiskey.
It even features a dog, often considered a key success driver of any Super Bowl ad, though his responsibilities are demonstrated to be limited.
The ad also has a responsible drinking message highlighted at the end, as the voiceover states: “You’re responsible for enjoying it. Responsibly.”
The cost for this 30-second black-and-white ad was estimated to be US$5 million.
Rémy Martin – Inch by Inch
This year, Cognac House Rémy Martin has teamed up with ‘the greatest female athlete of all time’, Serena Williams, for its first Super Bowl spot.
The ad continues Rémy Martin’s concept of Teaming Up for Excellence, a notion that it instils into all aspects of the brand, passing it from generation to generation.
Created by Fred & Farid New York, the Inch by Inch campaign spotlights teamwork and how we drive greatness forward as part of a team. Williams stars front and centre in the ad, which that will debut during this year’s game and will portray how great success cannot be accomplished alone, and that as part of a collective team true excellence can be achieved.
Over the past few weeks, the brand has been dropping trailers for the spot.
Cointreau – Love Letter
In 2021 Rémy Cointreau made its Super Bowl debut with a 30-second advertisement in 15 markets for premium French liqueur Cointreau.
The ad spot, titled Love Letter, was created in support of the on-trade community in the US, which had been hit hard by the pandemic.
Created in collaboration with The IRC, the campaign put a spotlight on, and showed support for real industry workers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Throughout the 360° campaign in the US, Cointreau encouraged viewers to post their own love letter on social networks to their favourite bars and restaurants with the hashtag #saverestaurants.