—February 9, 2016
While Superbowl 50 may have been lacking in offensive excitement, the four-and-a-half-hour spectacle did offer a few “WTF!?” moments that some people may have found awkward, distasteful, or perhaps even downright offensive.
Case in point being Peyton Manning playing the shill for Budweiser at the end of the game, not once, but twice. No sooner had the clock expired, giving the Denver Broncos a 24 to 10 victory over the Carolina Panthers, than the Denver QB told CBS Sportscaster Tracy Wolfson that he planned to celebrate the victory by kissing the wife and kids and “drink[ing] a lot of Budweiser tonight.”
As soon as the comment slipped out of Peyton’s mouth, everyone in my living room looked around at each other and said in unison, “What the f—k!!??”
“Did he really just say that?”
“Yeah, I mean, come on…. If I’d just won the Superbowl I wouldn’t celebrate with that swill.”
“He must’ve been paid for that.”
“I’d be reaching for the 100-year-old single malt.”
“I’ll bet that just earned him a million dollars or so.”
“As if he doesn’t earn enough.”
And as this point Peyton is on the podium holding the Lombardi Trophy and again listing off his planned celebration of kissing the wife and kids, and drinking “a lot of beer tonight—uh, Budweiser,” he corrects himself.
This elicits another WTF in unison from the small crowd, and subsequent commentary regarding how much he might be getting paid for the promotion and how lame it was.
For the record a spokesperson for Budweiser later insisted that the company did not pay Peyton to mention their brand, but that “we were surprised and delighted that he did.” No doubt, as sponsorship analytics group Apex MG determined that the combined comments from Peyton were worth about $3.2 million to Budweiser. According to ESPN, Budweiser sent 50 cases of their beer to the team’s after-game party.
And this is not the first time that Peyton has shilled for Budweiser. After his team beat the San Diego Chargers in the AFC Championship game in 2014, Peyton’s first comments about the win to an interviewer were, “What’s weighing on my mind is how soon I can get a Bud Light in my mouth after this win.”
While Budweiser disavows any paid arrangement with Peyton for his branding efforts, according to Beer Business Daily, Peyton owns a portion of two Louisiana Anheuser-Busch distributors. Thus, Peyton has a stake in the business and obviously wouldn’t be adverse to helping in its promotion.
Nor, apparently, was he averse to promoting another of his business interests. While Peyton listed kissing the wife and kids as a priority in his after game celebrations, he in fact first kissed John Schnatter, who is founder and chief executive officer of Papa John’s International.
And, what do ya know, Peyton just happens to own 21 Denver-area Papa John’s franchises, and serves as a Papa John’s spokesperson.
But, WTF? I mean, we can understand wanting to promote one’s business interests, but what of the game? He’s just won the biggest game in the sport, should be on an incredible emotional high, but instead just seems intent on plugging pizza and beer? Dunno, but it feels a bit demeaning towards to spirit of the game.
Anyhow, perhaps the other, and more confounding, WTF!? of the night was the Mountain Dew commercial that aired during the first quarter: Three dudes are chilling out on a couch when this hybrid “Puppymonekybaby” creature—puppy face with monkey torso in a diaper sprouting baby legs— bursts through a hidden door in the wall, gives the dudes a new “Mountain Dew” drink, while dancing around and repeating “Puppy-Monkey-Baby.”
When that creature slid into that room on the TV, everyone in my living room said the equivalent of WTF!?, and from what I can tell, pretty much everyone around the country had a similar reaction. The ad quickly became the top-trending topic on Twitter, and has since been downloaded on YouTube more than seven million times and counting.
Reaction has tended to be on the negative side with many commenters wondering what kind of psychedelic drugs the advertising copywriters and Mountain Dew executives have been experimenting with, while other commenters worried about the commercial’s potential for inducing nightmares.
In our nightmare, the puppy monkey baby had the face of Peyton Manning on a monkey torso in a diaper sprouting baby legs, who danced about while repeating “Budweiser—Papa John’s—Budweiser—Papa John’s—Budweiser….”
Hash-It-Out! Which Superbowl 50 moment invoked the biggest “WTF!?” with your crowd?
—Published February 9, in Hash-It-Out.