When Americans Think About the Super Bowl, They Think About Pepsi and Budweiser
PepsiCo Inc.’s sponsorship of the Super Bowl halftime show — arguably the crown jewel of U.S. marketing — is paying off in a big way. In a new Morning Consult survey, more Americans said they associate Pepsi with the Super Bowl than any other brand. As for advertisers, U.S. adults were most likely to mention Budweiser as the brand that typically airs the best Super Bowl commercials.
Halftime Show Sponsor Pepsi Is Brand Americans Most Associate With the Super Bowl
What the numbers say
- More than 1 in 5 U.S. adults (22 percent) mentioned Pepsi (or parent company PepsiCo Inc.) when asked which brand they most associate with the Super Bowl. The soft drink brand has been the presenting sponsor of the Super Bowl halftime show since 2012 under a broader marketing agreement with the NFL that’s reportedly worth more than $2 billion and expires following Sunday’s game. The NFL is said to be shopping the halftime show rights, though Pepsi could still renew its deal.
- Budweiser was a close second, with 19 percent of respondents mentioning the beer brand. Parent company Anheuser Busch InBev SA opted not to run an ad for Budweiser during last year’s Super Bowl, ending a 37-year streak, but its signature Clydesdale horses are back for 2022.
- Coca-Cola (7 percent), the NFL (6 percent) and Doritos (5 percent) rounded out the top five brands most associated with the Super Bowl. Sunday’s big game will be the second in a row without any ads from Coca-Cola Co. PepsiCo subsidiary Frito-Lay will promote Doritos alongside sister snack brand Cheetos in an ad starring Megan Thee Stallion and Charlie Puth.
Budweiser in a League of Its Own Among Super Bowl Advertisers
More about the numbers
- Budweiser was the most-mentioned brand when respondents were asked which brand typically has the best Super Bowl commercials. More than 1 in 4 U.S. adults (28 percent) mentioned the self-proclaimed “King of Beers” as their favorite Super Bowl advertiser. In addition to the Clydesdales, Budweiser’s past Super Bowl hits include its “Whassup” campaign in the early 2000s and 2017’s “Born the Hard Way,” which celebrated the brand’s immigrant roots.
- Doritos was the second most-mentioned brand, with 12 percent of respondents mentioning the chip line known for its humorous advertising. From 2007 to 2016, the brand ran ads based on fan submissions to its “Crash the Super Bowl” contest. "Doritos Time Machine,” which aired in 2014, was among the most memorable ads from this era. More recently, Doritos has turned to ads starring celebrities, including Matthew McConaughey, Lil Nas X, the Backstreet Boys and Chance the Rapper.
- Pepsi (11 percent), Coca-Cola (5 percent) and Bud Light (3 percent) rounded out the top five brands with the best Super Bowl ads. Like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo has moved away from running ads for its flagship cola brand during the big game. Instead, it is promoting the brand through its glitzy halftime show production and related content. Bud Light has typically taken a humorous approach to its spots: Its 2018 commercials featuring the “Bud Knight” character and the “Dilly Dilly” slogan resonated in a big way. Morgan Stanley attributed the brand’s sales uptick to the campaign.
The Super Bowl offers brands a larger and more captive television audience than any other event. Among adults who said they are likely to watch the Super Bowl this year, 84 percent said they usually pay “a lot” (41 percent) or “some” (43 percent) attention to the advertisements. Seventeen percent said they plan to tune in primarily for the halftime show, while 13 percent said they plan to tune in primarily for the ads.
Sunday’s halftime show starring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar could be the last under the Pepsi banner, but it’s hard to imagine the soft drink brand relinquishing such prime real estate, particularly in light of market research like this survey. Neither Pepsi nor the NFL responded to requests for comment on the status of the sponsorship rights beyond this season.
The NFL will likely command a significant raise for the halftime entitlement given the sport’s unmatched popularity relative to other TV programming and the recent emergence of sports betting and cryptocurrency brands as major spenders in the sports marketing space.
The strong presence of several brands that didn’t advertise at all last year, such as Budweiser and Coca-Cola, suggests that one’s reputation as a Super Bowl staple is made over years, rather than with just one well-received commercial.
The Jan. 31, 2022, survey was conducted among a representative sample of 2,211 U.S. adults, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.