Doritos is once again giving consumers the chance to create a Super Bowl ad with its “Crash the Super Bowl” contest, in which users were asked to make 30-second commercials. Missing from the top 10 finalists, however? Newcastle Brown Ale, which entered the contest as a ploy to get free advertising during the Super Bowl. The brand’s submission was a beer commercial subtly disguised as a Doritos commercial.
“Chores” follows a man around his house as he searches for chips. His wife sits on the couch suggesting places to check: the kitchen cabinet, the refrigerator, and the garage, all of which are filled to the brim with Newcastle Brown Ale.
After checking the basement, the man ascends the stairs and says, “I cleaned the whole basement and didn’t find any serious crunch or bold nacho flavors in here,” though he did find a case of beer emblazoned with the words, “Buy Newcastle. It’s delicious.”
Advertising while advertising the fact that they’re not actually advertising has become a Super Bowl tradition of Newcastle’s. Last year, there was another clever commercial about what the brand would have done in a Super Bowl ad, had they been able to afford to make one. The ad was a joke, riffing on all the clichés in beer marketing, but it was a joke that people really enjoyed and talked about.
“We wanted to strike gold again, but we still didn’t want to drop the $4.5 million to actually enter the Super Bowl,” says Charles Van Es, senior brand director at Heineken USA, Newcastle’s parent company. “We figured that if this snack chip brand was willing to pay to air the ad, we may as well give it our best shot. It didn’t take, but this is only the first of the things we’re trying this year.”
Unfortunately for Newcastle, they weren’t eligible to Crash the Super Bowl, which prohibits third-party brands, logos, alcohol, promotional materials, copyrighted music, and ads longer than 30 seconds. Oh, and the beer company missed the November 9 entry deadline by two months.
Nick Smith, associate media director at San Diego’s Piston Agency, points out that the strategy of a tongue-in-cheek spoof ad has been done before, offering Old Spice’s “Smell Like a Man, Man” campaign from 2010 as an example. But he thinks Newcastle’s commercial, pretending to infiltrate Doritos’ annual contest, is a new twist on that.
“I love that they’re pulling in another brand and bleeping their name; it almost makes them seem like rebels,” Smith says. “It shows what kind of a fun brand Newcastle is.”
He adds that the spoof, in addition to showing how well the brand knows its audience, is entertaining enough to gain attention in the clutter of cyberspace despite all of its big-budget competition.
“On the Internet, we’re not competing with other ads; we’re competing with Jimmy Fallon trying to date Nicole Kidman or whatever else is being talked about at the moment,” Van Es says. “By giving people funny things to watch, we can compete with all the other stuff out there, and because we also have something interesting to say – that there’s a lot of bollocks in marketing – it’s worth talking about with your friends.”
Image via Shutterstock
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