Sunday was the Super Bowl, the annual championship game of American professional football. It’s a borderline high holiday, a full day extravaganza of athletic prowess, entertainment, and marketing bluster. (30 seconds of bluster this year would run you a cool $7 million, in case you were wondering.) While half of the viewing public watched to see who would win between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers—both great coffee cities, by the by—the other half tuned in for the commercials, each presumably shushing each other when it was their time to pay attention.
And as has been the case in years past, coffee has continued to have a presence in the high-priced intermezzo.
We’ve been keeping a watchful eye on the emergence of coffee ads in the Super going all the way back to 2015, when Death Wish Coffee won a free commercial spot through Intuit Quickbooks and made a bizarre Viking-themed something-or-other. In 2019 there was some CBD coffee thing by a brand whose website makes you wonder how they were able to pony up the cash to afford placing their ads around the stadium. And in 2021 it was Oatly’s then-CEO Toni Petersson discomfortingly sitting at a keyboard in a field singing, “wow no cow.”
Here in the Year of our Lord Twenty and Twenty-Four, it is Anthony Hopkins—SIR Anthony Hopkins—hawking cold brew in a mascot costume for a soccer team owned by actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. The Super Bowl commercial Madlibs are getting a little too mad.
The one-minute commercial in question was for SToK Cold Brew, who have already teamed up with Reynolds and McElhenney to be the official stadium sponsors of Wrexham AFC. In it, Sir Anthony of the process he undergoes to get into character for such a challenging role. That role? As the football club’s dragon mascot Wrex.
“To act is to deceive. And to deceive, one must forget oneself. Every metamorphosis is demanding, but to become this beast, well, that requires a little extra kick. Now hear me roar,” he screams before donning an oversized plush red dragon mask.
Hopkins, admittedly, is great. It’s a silly concept and he sells it. Not enough to, like, make me run out and buy any SToK cold brew, but enough to not make me feel like I wasted a minute of my life watching it. (The Affleck/J.Lo/Damon/Brady/Harlow/Fat Joe Dunkin’ Super Bowl ad, on the other hand, is only as successful as your ability to withstand star-stuffed cringe.)
We’re still sitting here waiting for that first specialty coffee brand to break through into the big time, though. Oatly is specialty coffee-adjacent, but not quite there. Smart money is on La Colombe being the first. They’ve got all that yogurt money and have shown a propensity for flashy ad spots in the past. My dark horse pick is Onyx Coffee Lab. They’re perpetually growing and audacious enough to punch way above their pay grade and swing for the fences.