Online advertising efforts have traditionally been the chaser to television ads, but a campaign from Newcastle proves online-only campaigns have a lot of potential. Leading up to this year’s Super Bowl, Newcastle created a YouTube video titled “The ad Newcastle made to prepare you for the ad we didn’t make”, which was a preview for the main ad “The Mega Huge Football Game Ad Newcastle Could’ve Made.” The latter was aired only online, in storyboard format with nods to typical beer commercials (women, body paint, tropical island, party, fighting apes, closing with the hasthag #NewcastleMakesAPartyAnEvenBetterParty). Newcastle placed the videos and an interview with star of the un-Super Bowl campaign Anna Kendrick on dedicated microsite ifwemadeit.com.
Newcastle maintained post-Super Bowl buzz with humorous remakes of Super Bowl ads, such as “How We Would’ve Made that Yogurt Bear Ad”, also placed on the microsite. Kendrick promoted the campaign in her tweets, mentioning how odd it was to be paid for an ad that never ran in the Super Bowl. In another campaign video, her mentions of the Super Bowl are bleeped out, both poking fun at and skirting the rule that the word cannot be used for advertising purposes without the NFL’s permission.
The ad Newcastle didn’t make became a viral hit and registered 9 million views, which is more than 43 of the 50 official game spots managed to gather. The microsite had 100,000 unique visitors, more than a third of the traffic to the Budweiser and Bud Light sites combined. The brand’s Twitter account saw a spike in followers in January, when the campaign launched, and the YouTube account became the fourth most-viewed brand channel in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beer.
Newcastle’s success – featured as a Flash of Genius in L2’s Beer study – shows a small budget should not be an excuse for sitting out major events.