As branded sports sponsorships go, there is no more powerful spotlight than an overt plug during the Super Bowl telecast. And last night, the plugged brand’s marketing team no doubt convulsed with tears of joy when the game’s winning quarterback delivered it organically to an audience of more than a billion viewers.
A paid promo? All is not what it seemed.
— Budweiser (@Budweiser) February 8, 2016
First, I should remind you just how valued a split second of national TV airtime can be to a sports marketer. I remember one measurement company tallying the on-air seconds its client’s brand logo appeared during a NASCAR race as justification for the millions the client spent to paste its logo on the side of the car or a patch on the driver’s uniform.
The Super Bowl telecast is the granddaddy of all
sporting events from a marketer’s vantage point. The Oscars is a distant second. Brands gleefully pay the broadcast network a $5 million tariff to air their 30-second TV commercials, which also amplify across social and news media, adding millions to their value.
Peyton Manning appears to have sponsorship deals with Budweiser, his family, and God
— Alex Rosenberg (@CNBCAlex) February 8, 2016
I also took notice of the pre-game show when the players were being introduced on the field. The cameras caught Mr. Manning still seated in front of his locker genuflecting while very plainly guzzling a Gatorade, which actually is one of his commercial endorsers alongside Nationwide Insurance and Papa Johns Pizza, among others.
As it turns out, Anheuser-Busch’s communications chief set the sponsorship record straight by tweeting this:
Hi Internet. For the record, Budweiser did not pay Peyton Manning to mention Budweiser tonight. We were surprised and delighted that he did.
— Lisa Weser (@LisaWeser) February 8, 2016
Leave it up to ESPN’s sports business reporter and prolific twitterer Darren Rovell to stumble across the real motivation of Mr. Manning’s affection for Bud and his diss to Disney:
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) January 14, 2014
Mashable’s Heidi Moore concluded:
“So is Bud directly paying Manning to endorse its beer?
Let’s not say no. Let’s just say “not yet.”
Still. Will Peyton Manning profit if you drink more Bud? Yes. And he’s not pretending otherwise.”