Newcastle Brown Ale Breaks Through With Help From Fast Horse (And Anna Kendrick)

February 7, 2014


“I’ll just give you an endorsement right now: Hi, um, Newcastle Brown Ale, the only beer that ever promised me a high-paying role in a Super Bowl commercial and then backed out at the last @#$%^&* second like a bunch of ^%$#@. Suck it. Suck it.”

With those charming words, Oscar-nominated actress and triple-platinum recording artist Anna Kendrick won the hearts of people coast to coast. Kendrick “starred” alongside former NFL superstar Keyshawn Johnson — as well as skateboarding cats, a giant evil robot, hoards of bikini-clad dancers and a bunch of aliens — in a Big Game ad that Newcastle Brown Ale never made.

Not having an ad to place in a $4 million slot during the mega huge football game didn’t stop Newcastle from creating the storyboards for a hypothetical ad it couldn’t afford, hiring celebrity talent and filming “behind-the-scenes” interviews, conducting real focus groups, and more. All of this hilarious content was part of Newcastle’s “If We Made It” program, intended to poke fun at all of the over-hyped, over-the-top antics that are rampant in Big Game marketing.

Kendrick’s interview, in which she expresses disappointment about missing out on the opportunity to make a “shit-ton” of money to be in a Super Bowl ad, spread across the Web like wildfire. The day it was posted, it became the second-most-popular video on YouTube, and it stayed in YouTube’s top ten even throughout the Super Bowl. And for good reason — it’s damn funny:

Fast Horse helped chart a course for success with Newcastle and its other agency partners from Day One. Thanks to solid strategy, stellar creative, early influencer engagement, and some old-fashioned elbow grease, the program quickly became a massive success. In addition to the aforementioned YouTube dominance during the busiest week of the year for the ad industry:

  • The “If We Made It” program was introduced to the world with a glowing review from Adweek, which called Newcastle’s Big Game ad teaser “the best you’ll see this year”
  • Newcastle spent a good chunk of Friday, Jan. 31, in the top spot on Facebook’s trending topics list
  • Anna Kendrick appeared on “Conan” to talk about her work with Newcastle
  • Although the program was only live for about 10 days, the videos racked up more than 9 million cumulative views — a majority of which were organic views
  • On top of glowing coverage from outlets like Buzzfeed, Business Insider, the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, Newcastle’s program was ranked as a “best of” ad in round-ups that otherwise focused solely on actual Big Game sponsors — like this one from Fast Company
  • Outlets such as Time and Inc held up Newcastle as a shining example of smart marketing, cutting through the Big Game marketing clutter
  • A nice little Associated Press story included Newcastle as the lead example of how “the best Super Bowl ads weren’t on during the game”

I could go on. And on. With more than 600 media hits on our tracking sheet from just about every corner of the media landscape, we have a happy client and a giddy team here at HQ. Visit to see more from this great program.