Bud Light is squeezing Arnold Schwarzenegger, Don Cheadle and a llama into its celebrity-filled Super Bowl ad lineup.
Newcastle Brown Ale's answer? Explosions, scary fish, thrilling escapes, frightening rock slides, sexual tension, ceremonial dances, battle apes, party sharks, and girls in bikinis fighting giant robots. All that, plus actress Anna Kendrick and former NFL star Keyshawn Johnson.
Actually, Newcastle never made such an ad. And that's the point. Rather, the Heineken USA-imported brand has spent the days leading up to the Big Game running over-the-top teaser ads as part of a digitally focused campaign meant to poke a little fun at Super Bowl advertising. Or as one of Newcastle's teaser ads says: "It is the mega-huge football game ad" the brand "could have made if we had the money, talent and permission to advertise in the game."
Newcastle Brand Director Quinn Kilbury said the campaign is not meant to be a shot at Anheuser-Busch InBev, the exclusive beer advertiser for the game, or any other Super Bowl marketer. Most Super Bowl marketing is "a little over the top and ridiculous," he said. "We're not saying that's a bad thing. We are just saying that's kind of funny."
The teasers, which include cheap stock footage, are part of the brand's ongoing "No Bollocks," campaign, which includes lighthearted ribbing of conventional beer-selling ploys such as fancy glassware and signs.
On Tuesday, Newcastle released a video what it says are "actual focus groups" reacting to a "Mega Football Ad we didn't actually make."
The video was included as part of a paid advertising integration with Gawker that includes a mock review of the ad posted on the site: "As someone being paid to write this, I have to say that it's the greatest ad ever, mostly because Newcastle asked me to use those exact words," Gawker wrote.
There is a serious business objective to the nonsense: "If we do it the right way we are hopefully going to get a lot of impressions out of this and sell some beer," said Mr. Kilbury, a former PepsiCo marketer who helped create a Super Bowl ad for Pepsi Next last year. As of Monday, the Newcastle videos had drawn 900,000 views on Facebook and YouTube, he said.
The campaign was not exactly cheap. Mr. Kilbury estimated the budget to be around $1 million. Ms. Kendrick and Mr. Johnson were actual participants, starring in "behind-the-scene" spots. Agencies include Droga5 for creative and Fast Horse for PR and MediaVest for media. Newcastle deployed paid media support including promoted tweets and a Facebook video buy.
In addition to the Gawker deal, Newcastle bought a sponsored post on Reddit in which it asks for suggestions.
One reader suggested the ad should include "myself and Jennifer Lawrence drinking Newcastle then walking cats on leashes and finally ending with myself shooting a flaming arrow into a kick-ass, huge bonfire that two dirt bikes jump over doing back flips."
Newcastle plans to make a storyboarded version of the crowdsourced ad later this week.