Less About The Spend, More About The Reach, Experience and Relationship

Did you see Will Ferrell’s Super Bowl commercial while watching the game live?

Comedian Will Ferrell can make ineptitude look really funny. His 2012 Super Bowl commercial for Old Milwaukee beer is a great example. The only problem is, if you weren’t watching the big game in North Platte, Neb.,—television market No. 209 out of 210—then you missed it.

That’s because Old Milwaukee spent all of a reported $1,500 to place the ad on the NBC station in North Platte, while its competitors in the beer market were writing million-dollar checks for national commercial placement, along with related loud football-watching parties, multimedia materials and the usual celebrity endorsements.

Inept commercial strategy, maybe? Hardly. Old Milwaukee’s gambit paid off with priceless social media buzz and potential customer engagement; upon hearing about the ad on Twitter, people (including the target beer-drinking audience) sought it out on YouTube and paid visits to Old Milwaukee’s Facebook page. Suddenly a beer that sells fewer units than Coors, Budweiser and Dos Equis had scored a marketing touchdown, and Old Milwaukee was proving that innovative thinking and giving people a richer commercial experience can trump throwing money at an opportunity for exposure.

All this for a commercial in which Ferrell doesn’t utter a word. The ad is a single-camera setup showing Ferrell striding through a wheat field, portentous Aaron Copland-style music blaring, for most of its 30 seconds. Someone throws him a can of Old Milwaukee, he opens it, and just as he opens his mouth to repeat some witty tagline…the screen goes dark.

Did the folks in North Platte miss something? Did an eager station traffic operator cut off the punch line in his/her eagerness to tease the 11:00 local news? Was it intentional and in line with Ferrell’s brand of wild, self-deprecating humor?

Who cares? The ad got people talking and tweeting and Facebooking and searching.

Tweets about Old Milwaukee far outnumbered those for bigger-spending Super Bowl brands.

The lesson is as clear as a summer day in North Platte: it’s not necessarily about the money brands spend to gain exposure. Focus on using the technologies available to boost reach, and provide a satisfying experience for potential customers. You can give them something to talk about without breaking the bank.

What brand wouldn’t drink to that?

CI-Group, a New Jersey advertising agency, provides digital marketing and advertising consulting to Fortune 2000 companies in a wide range of industries. Founded nearly 30 years ago and based in Whitehouse, N.J., CI-Group is recognized as a top advertising agency specializing in marketing strategies, event marketing, promotions, direct marketing, digital printing, warehousing and fulfillment. Companies seeking an award-winning interactive agency that merges creative strategies with effective tactics should call 908-534-6100 or visit www.ci-group.com.

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