Case Study #3: Newcastle Brown Ale

I’m sure by now you’re thinking “Okay, we get it, everyone is obsessed with the Anna Kendrick behind the scenes commercial” and yes, I have probably personally contributed to 1/5 of its total views, BUT! That’s not what this article is about. This case study will briefly take a look at what made the entirety of Newcastle’s “If We Made It” campaign absolutely brilliant and how it applies to small businesses everywhere in social media today. Let’s dive right in:

The trailer. I can almost put myself in the pitch room behind this one. “We can’t afford a Superbowl ad. Let’s come up with a really awesome and outlandish story board for a commercial that we WOULD have made if we made one.” Incorporate a few celebrities, some cinematic qualities and it could make for a pretty awesome time. 630,000 YouTube views for your efforts.


Anna Kendrick: Behind The Scenes. Here’s where the campaign gets fun. This video was the driving force behind the campaign. A genius play, bringing the “theoretical” storyboard to life with the lovable and approachable-hot Anna Kendrick. 5,000,000 views for being creative and choosing a very trendy celebrity.


Keyshawn Johnson: Behind The Scenes. Okay, a little drawn out, because it’s too similar to the other behind the scenes video and uses an athlete who isn’t very recognizable in 2014 and certainly isn’t as popular today as Anna Kendrick. I do, however, appreciate the scene (pictured below) around the 1:00 mark where the storyboard from the trailer is describing how they’re going to getScreen Shot 2014-02-12 at 10.12.08 PM Keyshawn Johnson, and the real Keyshawn Johnson is looking at a drawing of himself holding stacks of money wondering “Why is this even in here? What does this have to do with the commercial?” A clever and very subtle tie-in, points awarded for good copywriting.  More popular than the trailer because of star power, unsurprisingly less popular than Anna Kendrick, 1,000,000 YouTube views for this one.

Twitter. Three YouTube videos couldn’t possibly make up the entirety of the campaign, right? Of course not. Newcastle took to Twitter to cement their place as the winners of the Superbowl advertising wars, tweeting at customers, engaging other brands, and even getting the support of some very well-followed celebrities. All of this, keep in min, for an ad that they never actually ran anywhere:


The Results. So, you might be asking yourself, what’s all of this got to do with small business owners? Well let me sum it up for you like this: Newcastle, practically a startup compared to their titan advertising competitors, took to social media to level the playing field. Using great content and engaging with their audience in a unique and relatable way, Newcastle managed to:

  • Rack up more than 7,000,000 YouTube views
  • Increase their Twitter following from 7,500 to over 15,000, doubling in just 30 days what they’d been able to do since the account was opening in May 2007.
  • Drive a ton of traffic to their website. I wish I had a way of getting these numbers, but unfortunately I don’t. If someone out there does, email me!
  • The Anna Kendrick piece in particular was mentioned who knows how many times in the media, over shadowing all of their competitors efforts to promote their products with expensive commercials and pricing media spots.
  • Which brings me to my last point: Save a lot of money. They didn’t pay a dime for a single media placement, all of the behind the scenes videos were shot with one camera angle, and the story boards didn’t require hardly any cost at all. They accomplished all of this for really, really cheap.

Moral of the story: Just because you’re not the biggest business on the block, doesn’t mean that you can’t use creativity and great content to get yourself heard, get your message out there, and not spend an enormous amount of money.

What small business lessons did you take away from the guerilla marketing going on around the Superbowl?

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