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Michelob ULTRA Takes its Gender Equality Pledge to the Super Bowl

Last Updated: October 26, 2022
Serena Williams, Nneka Ogwumike, and Alex Morgan are joined by Peyton Manning, Brooks Koepka and Jimmy Butler in friendly bowling showdown.

Michelob ULTRA returns to the Super Bowl marketing stage for the second year in a row with a new star-studded campaign continuing the brand’s pledge for gender equality in sports.

In the ad, Serena Williams, Nneka Ogwumike, and Alex Morgan join Peyton Manning, Brooks Koepka, and Jimmy Butler at Michelob ULTRA’s “Superior Bowl,” where the iconic athletes go bowling while enjoying a few cold ones. Award-winning actor Steve Buscemi — who is quite familiar around the lanes thanks to his iconic role as Donny in The Big Lebowski — makes a cameo.

The equal representation of female and male athletes in this commercial is reflective of Michelob ULTRA’s recent $100 million commitment to increase visibility for women’s sports. On Women’s Equality Day in August, the official beer sponsor of the WNBA announced that over the next five years it would ensure gender balance of athletes on its endorsement roster and in its advertising, with 50% of the brand’s lifestyle media inventory going to promote woman athletes.

“It’s all about accessibility and representation,” Ogwumike, the Los Angeles Sparks star and current WNBPA President, told Boardroom. “The Super Bowl — especially in our country — is a huge week for sports and ultimately for impressionable young athletes and aspirers. To see myself in a Super Bowl ad means that there’s other aspiring young athletes who see themselves in me.”

Directed by Oscar-nominated cinematographer and director Rachel Morrison (Mudbound, Fruitvale Station, Black Panther), the 60-second spot is one of three new episodic Michelob ULTRA ads that will air during the Super Bowl.

The combined on-field and on-court achievements of Michelob ULTRA’s athletes make this campaign’s roster perhaps the strongest in advertising history, while maintaining the brand’s equal gender representation.

“These amazing athletes live what we preach,” said Ricardo Marques, Vice President of Marketing, Michelob ULTRA. “Working very hard but also enjoying themselves. This is how they live their lives and they are a natural representation of what this brand is all about.”

Although last year’s Super Bowl earned a 14-year low of 96.4 million viewers, the Feb. 13 matchup between the Rams and Bengals is expected to exceed 100 million, a welcome increase for advertisers spending upwards of $6.5 million for a 30-second spot. The steep investment in airtime is clearly an opportunity for brands to make statements bigger than just sports.

“It’s really important being able to expand and progress gender equity and equality,” Ogwumike said. “Sometimes simply putting the athletes that exist on screen is the biggest way to do it. I’m really grateful to be a part of that representation and a brand that acknowledges that representation is hopefully the catalyst for young people, especially women who want to be in sport.”

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