Coors Light is drafting LL Cool J to help it fight the Super Bowl beer wars.
The popular actor and musician makes a grand entrance in Coors Light’s new Super Bowl commercial as the conductor of the Coors Light Chill Train, an advertising icon that hasn’t really been, um, tapped by the brewer since 2005. While the train chugs along throughout the spot, LL Cool J doesn’t appear until near the end, when the iron horse crashed into a living room filled with football fans.
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“It felt like a real epic kind of moment,” LL Cool J says of his arrival in the commercial.
Molson Coors Beverage Co., the parent of the famous beer, is betting that a revival of the train and the appearance of a popular celebrity will prove a winning combination in the second year of a new suds war. In 2023, Anheuser-Busch InBev gave up a pact it had that made it the exclusive beer advertiser in the Super Bowl, and in doing so, ceded some potential ground to its main rival.
Now Bud Light, Michelob Ultra and Budweiser — three Super Bowl staples — will have to battle to some extent for attention from drinkers with Coors Light.
Last year, Molson Coors suggested it was mulling whether to give its first Super Bowl spot in decades to Coors Light or Miller Lite. In the end, neither got a shot. Blue Moon was awarded the space (though not before its sibling brews got a massive boost through social media and teaser campaigns.
“This year, we’re reintroducing our beloved beer train to both original Coors Light fans and the next generation of beer drinkers,” said Marcelo Pascoa, vice president of marketing for the Coors Family of Brands, in a statement. “On a night when fans everywhere can use a little more chill, the Coors Light Chill Train is here to save the day when drinkers need it most. With LL Cool J at the helm, we’re bringing a whole new meaning of ‘chill’ to Americans from coast to coast.”
Of course, Anheuser Busch InBev will be hard to ignore. The company is one of the biggest annual purchasers of Super Bowl ad time and this year is no different. Budweiser is bringing its Clydesdale horses back to the Super Bowl while Michelob Ultra enlisted Lionel Messi, Jason Sudeikis and Pete Marino to help it make its marketing point.
In this year’s Coors Super Bowl ad, the Chill Train barrels through a wedding, past a photoshoot with Coors musical partner Lainey Wilson and across a beach.
But nothing comes together until LL Cool J brings the train to a stop and cranks up “Love Train,” the 1972 hit from the O’Jays.” The song, says LL Cool J, is critical. “I grew up with that song. I used to watch my mother vacuum the house to that song. It’s a really important song to me.”
Molson Coors no doubt hopes viewers will listen when they hear: “Please don’t miss this train at the station.”
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