On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs clinched their second consecutive Super Bowl victory against the San Francisco 49ers in Las Vegas. And peppered in between plays was, of course, the highly anticipated slew of TV ads. Whether they included booze or not, this year’s spots were dominated by celebrity cameos, car insurance, and AI-generated photos of people cleaning each other’s feet. We saw State Farm poke fun at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s accent and a Paramount+ ad that managed to squeeze in appearances from Patrick Stewart, Drew Barrymore, Creed, Arnold, and “Sonic the Hedgehog”’s Knuckles in just 30 seconds. One thing that was in short supply, though: actual alcohol.
While it’s usually a time when big beer and alcohol companies put their marketing dollars to work in an attempt to strike a chord with the masses, this year, we only got four beer ads this year— two before Usher’s halftime performance, and two after. That’s less than half of the number of booze ads we got during last year’s Big Game. Plus, there wasn’t a single liquor or wine ad. (We did see some solid booze-free drink ads, but more on that in a bit.)
Read on for our breakdown of Super Bowl LVIII’s drinks ads, ranked worst to best.
7. Coors Light: Chill Train
For the first time in 12 years, Coors Light brought back the Chill Train to barrel across the land delivering ice-cold beers to the thirsty, and eventually crash into a suburban living room. Aside from the quick jab at Corona and L.L. Cool J’s casting as the conductor, the commercial was overwhelmingly forgettable. Sure, the Chill Train is a throwback, but not one that was all that missed in the first place. The brand was out of the Super Bowl adscape for years before returning in 2023, and we wish they’d reached for some newer IP.
6. Bud Light: Easy Night Out
It’s been a rough year for Bud Light, to say the least, which is likely why they went with some neutral, pro-party messaging. The ad introduced the Bud Light Genie: an average-looking white guy with shades and a ‘stache who grants the wishes of a few garage-dwelling sports fans. The genie proceeds to summon more white people — Post Malone, Peyton Manning, Dana White — and of course, plenty of Bud Light.
5. Michelob ULTRA: Superior Beach
Michelob ULTRA’s Superior Beach ad makes it known that it’s an athlete’s beer, albeit lazily. It features Lionel Messi, Dan Marino, and Jason Sudeikis, and is essentially 30 seconds of Messi schooling tourists in soccer while he awaits a draft pour. It may make us want to cop a Messi jersey, but does it make me crave the brand’s beer? Not so much.
4. Starry: It’s Time To See Other Sodas
Rapper Ice Spice made her Super Bowl ad debut by teaming up with Starry, the rebrand of Sierra Mist. She’s seen at a club with Starry mascots Lem and Lime until her ex lemon-lime soda shows up wondering how it all went wrong. Given that Ice Spice is one of the biggest names in music right now, we’re ranking this one high.
3. Budweiser: Old School Delivery
This year, Budweiser left the jokes to the competition and put the nostalgia on overdrive. “Old School Delivery” depicts a packed bar in a small, sleepy town that’s running low on Bud until kegs arrive via Clydesdales and carriage, reviving the party. It tugs at the heart strings of anyone who loves yellow labs, horses, and snow-caked landscapes. To give credit where it’s due, we’ll admit that the cinematography is on point. But all in all, it’s an inoffensive 60-second snippet, and it’s one of the more successful of the bunch.
2. MTN DEW: Aubrey Plaza Having a Blast
For all too long, Baja Blast was a Taco Bell exclusive, but now it’s available in bottles at a store presumably near you. The brand’s casting of Aubrey Plaza and fellow “Parks and Recreation” alum Nick Offerman to promote the drink makes for a well-established dynamic duo. Plaza’s deadpan delivery coupled with her claim that she’s always “having a blast” regardless of the situation — whether she’s stuck in an elevator, getting abducted by aliens, or getting whacked over the head with pool noodles — fuels the 30-second ad. Sure, the pun is a bit obvious, but you know what? It works.
1. Dunkin’: The DunKings
Dunkin’s spot this year is deserving of a shout-out of its own. The bit features The DunKings: a wannabe boy band composed of Ben Affleck on vocals, Tom Brady a.k.a. Touchdown Tommy on the keys, and Matt Damon on embarrassment. The group auditions in front of Jennifer Lopez and Fat Joe, and despite the DunKings’ undeniable charisma, they get the hard pass. Affleck’s inclusion couldn’t feel more true to the brand, and the DunKing’s tracksuits are on point. Oh, and Jack Harlow’s in it too.