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The Super Bowl has come and gone. The Denver Broncos may have won the championship, but the real winners of “Super Sunday?” It’s Death Wish Coffee, hailing from Upstate New York.

We’ve talked a lot about Super Bowl commercials and the impact (or lack thereof), but many of them are big businesses who can afford the $5 million price tag for 30 seconds. There aren’t many times when you see a small business featured on the biggest stage in sports and television in general.

Enter Intuit Quickbooks, who in 2015, announced the return of their Small Business Big Game contest. The winner would receive an all-expense paid television ad during the “Big Game.”

In the end, Death Wish Coffee was the big winner, and for their prize, they received a free commercial that would air during the 3rd quarter. For those who may have missed it, the ad was one that was fit for a company that touts the “world’s strongest coffee.” Vikings were depicted rowing a ship during a storm set to dramatic music and the right quotes to match the situation. It was later revealed that it wasn’t really vikings rowing in a storm, but rather, a man enjoying a cup of Death Wish Coffee.

In the end, some ads flop, while others enjoy success. For this small business, they fall into the latter category.

The commercial was well-received by many, making several “best of” lists of the Super Bowl, including from Sports Illustrated and this website. As for how it impacted  them on the business side of things, sales of Death Wish Coffee spiked 400% in the days following the Super Bowl. Even right after the ad aired, a member of their team had to work vigorously to keep their website’s servers from crashing. Over 100,000 people jumped on the website after they saw it.

Overall, not bad for small coffee manufacturer who as struggling to keep the lights on after he opened and concocted his formula as a joke for his customers.

Where do they go from here? The spike in business has prompted the brand to want to expand worldwide, including being sold in stores such as Whole Foods and Target.


Hunter, Matt. “Death Wish Coffee Super Bowl Ad Driving Buzz and Business.” Time Warner Cable News. February 8, 2016

Ellis, Lindsay. “Death Wish Coffee relishes new Super Bowl buzz.” Albany Times Union. February 10, 2016

Chau, Carmen. “Death Wish Coffee commercial makes its debut during the big game.” News 10. February 8, 2016

Adams, Susan. “Meet The Entrepreneur Behind The Death Wish Coffee Super Bowl Ad.” Forbes. February 9, 2016