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A tentative start for spirits at the Super Bowl - just-drinks thinks

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Last week, in the just-drinks pre-game round-up of the beverage industry's Super Bowl ads, we noted that this year's offerings threw up little in the way of surprise. Once again, there were the usual suspects supporting their biggest brands inside the most expensive real estate in marketing.

Moet Hennessys Hennessy Cognac got a big game debut with its own Super Bowl spot

Moet Hennessy's Hennessy Cognac got a big game debut with its own Super Bowl spot

Now that the game is over, and all of the ads revealed, we can admit we were wrong. Because yesterday, for the first time, the deep pockets of global brewers and soft drinks makers were joined by the not-insubstantial marketing budgets of the world's biggest spirits companies.

Distillers have long-stayed away from the Super Bowl, roped off by NFL rules banning them from using football as a marketing platform. Those rules were dropped two years ago, and in 2019 spirits started to take advantage. On Sunday, Brown-Forman's Jack Daniel's brand appeared for the first time in a pre-game ad, while Moet Hennessy's namesake Cognac got a big game debut, with a spot that dropped during the third and fourth quarters. 

Elsewher, Beam Suntory's Jim Beam also made its Super Bowl debut - the brand appeared briefly in an ad for Jim Beam and Budweiser collaborative beer Budweiser Reserve Copper Lager. Beam Suntory, however, has been keen to play down Jim Beam's part in the advert, suggesting that spirits companies still have to be careful when marketing their brands at sporting events - especially one with the broad demographic reach of the Super Bowl. 

Also, note that both Brown-Forman and Moet Hennessy used ads that had been seen before. Neither seemed willing to risk fresh content, and instead relied on the tried and tested.

But, while 'safety first' was the name of this year's game, let's hope that in the future spirits can throw in a few new plays. On-field, the Super Bowl is all about mixing things up and making an impact.

The same applies off-field, too.

What's coming up in brown spirits in 2019? - Click here for just-drinks' predictions for the year ahead


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