Newcastle Brown’s ‘If We’d Made It’ Non Super Bowl Ad

Despite Bud Light’s six-year NFL deal valued at $1.2bn plus (and its four Super Bowl spots – two for Bud Light and two for Budweiser), lesser known Newcastle Brown Ale might just have been the highest profile Super Bowl beer advertiser.


Without even advertising in the Super Bowl!


US brewer Anheuser-Busch’s expensively acquired rights were well and truly hijacked the British beer brand’s Super Bowl ad campaign that didn’t even actually include a Super Bowl ad?


Newcastle Brown Ale might not have bought airtime in Sunday’s Super Bowl, but its distinctly silly yet decidedly clever ambush campaign (from Droga5) certainly generated a lot of consumer chatter, huge media coverage and impressive viewing stats.


The spoof ‘If We’d Made It (if we had the money)’ campaign, celebrating the blockbuster marketing hype that surrounds the game, kicked off fairly quietly with an online teaser film on 22 January.



This ad drove viewers online to the campaign website http://www.IfWeMadeIt.com where they could see more of the ‘Mega Huge Epic Football Game Ad’ that the brand never actually made – including the never made commercial’s storyboard



Then, as the big game approached, it rolled out more content – including the hilarious endorsement-style spot by Twilight and Pitch Perfect star Anna Kendrick – the Hollywood actress who would have appeared in the epic ad


Kendrick’s clip, which sees her rants about Newky Brown cancelling her Super Bowl commercial at the last minute, begins with the line: ‘Behind the scenes of the mega huge football game that Newcastle Brown Ale almost made… which almost starred Anna Kendrick.’


It also discuses some of the restrictions on advertisers leveraging the game without official NFL rights – for instance, how they can’t use the words Super Bowl’ and so use ‘Big Game’ instead.



Like the other online films, the Kendrick spot went viral and sparked conversation and comment across social media.


Other interesting elements of the campaign included a clever, self-mocking Gawker ad ‘disguised as an editorial article to get you to click on it’,




as well as a set of bogus ad focus group videos such as






A further online film starring former NFL star Keyshawn Johnson rolled out days before the Super Bowl





If you are going to market around Super Bowl marketing, why not be true to the whole over-the-top blockbuster Big Game marketing landscape and treat your campaign like a $100m summer blockbuster movie?


Newcastle Brown Ale, a Tyneside based beer dating back to 1927 and now sold in 40 countries (including the US), briefed agency Droga5 to hijack the conversation around Super Bowl marketing.


‘It seemed like the obvious thing we had to do, and unfair to the world if we didn’t,’ says Newcastle brand director Quinn Kilbury.


‘The Super Bowl is great. The game is amazing, everyone loves the game. But it’s become much more about marketing in some ways, and the over-the-top ridiculousness that surrounds it.


‘I saw a lot of that when I was doing the real Super Bowl marketing stuff over at Pepsi, so it’s close to my heart, and it is a little ridiculous sometimes. For a brand that likes to poke fun at marketing, we had to poke fun at Super Bowl marketing at some point.’


This certainly seems to have worked incredibly well.


The Kendrick online ad alone had racked up 4,217,694 views the day after the Big Game, the Keyshawn Johnson viral has around one million views, while the initial teaser and storyboard spots boast 200,000+ and 400,000 respectively and the focus group films also earning 100,000s of additional views.


The stats show that this true, old style guerilla campaign certainly took some of the beer conversation and awareness away from official NFL partner Budweiser.


But Anhueser-Busch, who’s official NFL partnership runs to 2016, also posted up some impressive numbers with its own commercials.


For 2014’s Super Bowl the powerhouse US brewer Anheuser-Busch bought three minutes and 30 seconds of Super Bowl ad time.


Perhaps its stand-out spot for 2014 was a sugary-sweet, heart-warming commercial featuring its famous Clydesdale horses entitled ‘Puppy Love’ – which racked up an astonishing 30 million YouTube views before the game began.



The second Budweiser ad, ‘Hero’s Welcome’, plays the patriotic card as the brewer pays homage to the US armed forces by welcoming home a soldier from Afghanistan with a beer backed surprise ticker-tape parade.


The tagline ‘every soldier deserves a hero’s welcome’ is patriotic and emotionally powerful – a classic Super Bowl spot.



Bud Light meanwhile, blended storytelling and reality TV as a crew of actors (including comedian Reggie Watts and one Arnold Schwarzenegger) abscond with unsuspecting passer-by Ian Rappaport for a night of ‘Whatever’.



Which itself boasts nine million plus YouTube views to date





Newcastle Brown Ale If We’d Made It Website



Newcastle Brown Ale Twitter



Newcastle Brown Ale Facebook



Newcastle Brown Ale Website



Bud Light Super Bowl Website



Budweiser Website



Featured Showcases