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Beers, Bud and branding: A celebrity endorsement for the ages?

When one commentator on the recent Super Bowl said that it would be remembered in future years as essentially epochal, he wasn't referring to the game.

He was talking about beer and a certain jock.

If you already know where this is going, that speaker's comment seems well placed and serves to readily confirm the explosive power of product endorsement by select celebrities.

Take Peyton Manning and his apparent enthusiasm for Budweiser beer.

What was the future Hall of Famer most focused upon in the immediate wake of the contest, with reporters and cameras surrounding him? His legacy? The team's spirited performance?

Uh, not exactly.

"What's weighing on my mind is how soon I can get a Bud Light in my mouth," Manning told a huge audience.

For obvious reasons, that comment resonated in uppercase for Budweiser executives, with one of them saying that the company had not paid the quarterback a dime for his rousing endorsement and was "surprised and delighted" by the reference.

Does Manning really bolt down Buds with the ardor he expressed on national television?

Brand marketers will of course state that Manning's consumption regimen is really not the point.

The point is this: A celebrity endorsement of a product can be immensely productive for a company when it strikes a public audience in just the right way.

And many people in the know believe that Manning's display of enthusiasm for some beer suds -- incidentally, the quarterback reportedly has ownership interests in distributors owned by Anheuser-Busch, Bud's parent company -- will have high numbers of people hankering for some brews themselves.

One experienced brand marketer calls Manning's seemingly impromptu (but likely anything but) shout out to Bud as "probably the most valuable endorsement in history."

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