Peyton Manning’s two post-Super Bowl mentions of Budweiser beer Sunday are being met with mixed reaction.
Not long after the two mentions, I got a handful of texts from sports marketing sources.
Some thought the on-air mentions were smart and clever.
The majority, though, thought the mentions seemed scripted, insincere and over the top. One even suggested to me that Manning would ride into his retirement announcement later this offseason atop a Clydesdale—a Budweiser Clydesdale.
Another said it was sad that one of the last things Manning would say on a playing field was that he was going to drink a lot of Budweiser. “How great was that for all the children who were watching to see and hear?” asked another.
A Budweiser spokeswoman said after the game the beer maker didn’t pay Manning to make those postgame statements.
“We were surprised and delighted that he did" make those statements, tweeted Budweiser spokesperson Lisa Weser.
And for good reason.
The two mentions were worth $3.2 million in equivalent advertising time for the brand, according to Detroit-based sponsorship firm Apex MG Analytics. I’m sure that thrilled officials from Coors, New Belgium and the many other beer makers that brew their beer in the Broncos' home state of Colorado.
It’s not Manning’s first mention of Budweiser products in a postgame interview.
After beating San Diego in the 2014 playoffs, Manning quipped: “What’s weighing on my mind is how soon I can get a Bud Light in my mouth.”
But the Super Bowl is a much bigger stage, especially in this instance when masses of people are speculating this is the legendary quarterback’s final game.
Manning is as calculated a person on and off the field as there is in the NFL. If he’s mentioning Budweiser, it’s not just because he loves the King of Beers. Besides, who really believes No. 18 feels that strongly about Bud?
After the mentions, Budweiser officials said they were sending 50 cases of Bud to the Broncos post-Super Bowl celebration. But that might not have been Manning’s only payoff.
Beer Business Daily reported in 2014 Manning owned a stake in two Budweiser distributorships. Conveniently, Budweiser parent Anheuser-Busch couldn’t confirm whether Manning was still involved financially in those distributorships, when asked by ESPN Sunday.
One thing is certain. Manning is as good a pitchman as he is an NFL quarterback. He’s been a master salesman for more than a decade. He even had Papa John on the sideline Sunday giving him a hug and kiss on the cheek after the game.
But his pronouncement Sunday during a CBS interview with Tracy Wolfson that “I’m going to drink a lot of Budweiser tonight” had some sports marketers wondering if he somehow dinged his image—even if just a little.
Once upon a time Super Bowl stars used to shout “I’m going to Disney World.” On Sunday—on one of America’s biggest sporting stages—Manning chose to shout: This Bud’s for you!