Who knew a single Super Bowl commercial could serve as an advertisement for so many things?
When Michelob Ultra airs one of its ads during Fox’s broadcast of Super Bowl LVII, it won’t just be selling beer. The Anheuser-Busch InBev will share space with Netflix, which aims to highlight “Full Swing,” a new documentary series that follows a group of golfers across an entire PGA Tour season. The spot will even include a QR code that fans can scan as they watch to unlock early access to the first episode before it streams to the masses.
Whose commercial is it anyway? Michelob’s or Netflix’? “It’s both,” says Ricardo Marques, vice president of marketing for Michelob Ultra, in an interview.
Neither Michelob or Netflix will comment on whether they’ve split the costs of the commercial – Fox has been seeking between $6 million and $7 million for a 30-second spot in the Big Game – but they acknowledge both companies have been working on the joint venture for the better part of a year.
In one of Michelob’s Super Bowl spots, crafted with veteran agency Wieden + Kennedy, viewers see professional golfer Rickie Fowler, former NFL star Tony Romo and soccer great Alex Morgan on the course as they receive an early look at the upcoming Netflix docuseries, “Full Swing.” The sneak peek will be available until just before midnight on Monday, February 13.
“It’s never about who gets the credit,” says Magno Herran, vice president of marketing partnerships at Netflix. “It’s about building a partnership that’s’ truly organic for all audiences.”
Michelob’ Ultra’s Marques says response to the QR code will be as significant a factor in the company’s assessment of the ad’s effectiveness as other elements, including social-media response, online conversations and media coverage.
Anheuser-Busch InBev, Michelob’s corporate parent, has taken similar swings in Super Bowls past. In February of 2019, Anheuser-Busch InBev ran a Super Bowl ad for Bud Light that did the unthinkable — it left viewers thinking as much about HBO’s “Game of Thrones” as it did about beer. The commercial showed a character from the HBO series defeating the brand’s signature Bud Knight in a joust and then killing him in no uncertain terms.
Netflix has built a team that works to strike intriguing team-ups with advertisers willing to stretch their marketing muscles. In 2019, the company developed a partnership with Coca-Cola that paired the company’s flagship drink with “Stranger Things,” but spurred the beverage giant to temporarily revive New Coke, the much-scrutinized product that languished after its debut in 1985. In 2021, Netflix teamed up with Procter & Gamble’s Old Spice to create a series of off-putting scents tied to characters in “The Witcher.”