Michelob Ultra’s dramatic “Superior Bowl” ad stars former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, who struts into a bowling alley with all the machismo and determination of a pro quarterback about to win the biggest game of his life. He’s greeted by actor Steve Buscemi who’s tending bar and who probably knows a thing or two about bowling (see: The Big Lebowski).
The athletes have their game faces on, and each is outfitted with a bowling shirt showing their famous name stitched above the left pocket. Tennis champ Serena Williams marches in at the very end to highlight Michelob Ultra’s mission to draw attention to gender equality, and she intimidates all the other superstar athletes in the room without saying a word.
Besides Manning and Williams, the ad includes golfer Brooks Koepka (playing pool), NBA star Jimmy Butler (testing his karaoke skills), WNBA star Nneka Ogwumike (bowling) and soccer star Alex Morgan (bowling with a soccer ball).
You can watch the commercial below.
ELO’s “Showdown” runs throughout the spot and adds drama and suspense. The song is from the band’s third album, 1973’s On the Third Day. in 1973. Written by ELO frontman Jeff Lynne, “Showdown” reached No. 53 on the Billboard Hot 100, a fact a certain Beatle found puzzling. “‘Showdown’ I thought was a great record, and I was expecting it to be No. 1,” John Lennon said on the New York City radio station WNEW in September 1974. “But I don’t think [United Artists Records] got their fingers out and pushed it.” Lennon also called ELO the “Son of Beatles.”
“[‘Showdown’] is a beautiful combination of ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’ by Marvin Gaye and ‘Lightnin’ Strikes’ by Lou Christie, and it’s a beautiful job with a little ‘I Am the Walrus’ underneath,” Lennon noted.
Turns out it also works well at a bowling tournament.
NBC announced on Feb. 3 that it had officially sold out of Super Bowl ad space. Other rock songs to be included during Sunday’s ad run are Fleetwood Mac‘s “Little Lies” for Amazon Alexa; George Baker Selection’s “Little Green Bag” for Planet Fitness; and Bonnie Tyler‘s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” for Kia.
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