The Super Bowl caters to two types of viewers: those who watch football and those who watch the commercials. Beyond the fact that the game represents the climax of football season, it also has the distinction of being the one event, across all mediums, where people don’t try to fast-forward, skip, or otherwise avoid the commercials. Google “best Super Bowl commercials ever” and you’ll see articles curating everything from the top 5 ads to the finest 50. If you’re doubting the impact these commercials have here’s the test: do you remember who won the Super Bowl in 1995 or do you remember those bullfrogs croaking Bud-Weis-Er?
Companies reportedly pay $4 million for a single 30 second Super Bowl spot. If that seems high imagine the cost of an exclusivity deal. That is exactly what Anheuser-Busch InBev has once again negotiated. This means that no other beer brand can advertise during the Super Bowl. It’s been reported that Anheuser-Busch InBev spent 30 million dollars this year alone for 4 minutes of Super Bowl airtime. Ah, capitalism!
One beer is pushing back with an online series of commercials that have gone viral. Newcastle’s “If We Made It” campaign features commercials outlining the plans for an epic Super Bowl ad the company couldn’t afford to make. Newcastle isn’t even allowed to use the words Super Bowl in their commercials, but they manage to cleverly highlight the ridiculousness of the situation by writing Sxxxx Bxxx. In one spot, the ad’s storyboards (which feature robots, cats on skateboards, aliens, and actress Anna Kendrick wearing only body-paint) are revealed. In a second spot, focus groups give their candid reactions to the mythical ad. Yet another has former NFL wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson discussing his casting as the voice of the main skateboard cat. The best of the bunch though is Anna Kendrick lamenting the commercial falling through and her lost opportunity to “do a nude scene and get paid a shit ton of money to be in a commercial for a beer I don’t even drink.”
Newcastle isn’t exactly the little guy as the brand is owned by Heineken. But, in an age where big money is what gets you seen and heard, it’s always nice to see someone using media and online distribution to be subversive. Those cats on skateboards might not cost 30 million, but they’re clearly winners.