Old Milwaukee Won the Super Bowl

In the Super Bowl, teams pay big-named players to make big plays. But every so often we hear about the miracle player – the guy who comes out of nowhere and makes the most incredible play to help his team win the game. In the world of Super Bowl advertising and marketing, that sort of player doesn’t exist. There are no David Tyree’s during the commercial breaks.

But don’t tell that to Old Milwaukee

Old Milwaukee decided that if you can’t beat them at their own game, you have to change the rules. During this year’s Super Bowl, viewers in North Platte, Nebraska, a town with a population of just over 15,000, were witness to a simple 30-second commercial that did just that.

Enter Will Farrell, casually dressed and walking through a field in slow motion. He stops, catches a beer, cracks it open, and manages to say “Old Mi-” before being cut off. That’s it. He doesn’t even finish his sentence. The result is certifiable viral gold that has put the other Super Bowl commercials to shame.

Why it worked

Having a name-grabber like Will Farrell doesn’t hurt. But how does a commercial that was pushed to just one, small mid-west town become the belle of the ball? As Dean Metropoulos, owner of the Pabst Brewing Company – the parent company of Old Milwaukee – said: “Authenticity.”

Old Milwaukee knew it wasn’t going to compete with Budweiser or Pepsi. Old Milwaukee isn’t the “Champaign of Beers” or the “King” of anything. It’s cheap and kinda drinkable. There are no frills, and that’s its selling point. They know their customers aren’t the sort to make their decision based on special effects or an intricate story. In fact, if they made their commercial with that formula, it would have been lost in the noise, and worse yet, they would have alienated their base. Instead, Old Milwaukee offered a simple commercial that was short on copy and high on authenticity, and it worked.

While the average price tag for a 30 second spot broadcasted nationally on NBC during this years Super Bowl ran for $3.5 million, Old Milwaukee paid a total of $3,000 for the commercial to be shown on local two stations. Will Farrell is such a huge fan of the beer that he does their commercials for free. The beer company didn’t have the budget to compete with the big names on their turf, so they leveraged the power of social media to give their commercial the wings that their budget could not.

Fans were more than happy to do that for their beloved beer. Since the airing of the commercial last Sunday, the clip, uploaded by a viewer to YouTube, has been seen over 1,000,000 times. That’s about 200,000 more views than the Bud Light ‘Rescue Dog’ commercial. According to Mullen, the Boston-based agency that created the commercial, their Will Farrell pitch generated more Twitter buzz on Sunday night than many commercials that were aired nationally. In other words, the commercial scored more viral points than anybody else, so Old Milwaukee won the Super Bowl.

What that means for your business

What this commercial means for you and your business is that when it comes to standing out from the competition, it is essential to determine your niche before determining the best, most effective medium to reach it. I’m not suggesting that everybody should go the route of Old Milwaukee. In fact, if you did, it’s probable that you’d be disappointed with the results. Be creative, think outside the box, and use a medium that allows you to interact with your specific audience in a manner in which they are most comfortable.