The Media Gophers: Grand Prix

Grand Prix Gopher

Cannes Lions 2014 is done and dusted. The awards have been given out, the champagne has run dry, and the Lions have found new homes on the reception desks of agencies across the globe. This means that it’s time for The Media Gophers 2014. “What, how, and why!” I hear you cry! Well:

What: 8 campaigns have been given Honourable Mentions and can be seen here and here. The Silver Gopher winner can be seen here; the Gold Gopher winner can be seen here. The Grand Prix Gopher can be seen below.

How: This involved trawling through all the Bronze, Silver, Gold and Grand Prix winners from Cannes and singling out campaigns that really strike a chord with their intended audiences.

Why: Cannes has categories and has made judgements that I haven’t always agreed with. This is simply an everything goes version of the Lions from a different perspective.

Here is the winner of the Grand Prix Gopher:


Newcastle Brown Ale: If We Made It


What Was Involved?

Newcastle Brown Ale didn’t have the funds to run an ad break during the Super Bowl or even associate itself with the event. Its solution was simple: tell everybody about the idea for the advert it would have made, if it had the money. The result was a fully integrated campaign based on digital platforms that showed the viewing audience every planning step of the advert, without actually creating and sharing the advert itself. It was a masterstroke of storytelling.

It all began 10 days before the Super Bowl. Newcastle released teaser videos via social media and this continued as the days progressed to create “a rich, unfolding story”. Just like every Super Bowl advert there was a huge digital and social activation element, but Newcastle chose to start fake feuds with celebrities that they would have chosen to star in the advert such as Anna Kendrick, and release storyboards of the scenes from the If We Made It ad.

It’s the best commercial for the Super Bowl and it’s not even on the Super Bowl – Forbes.

What’s So Great About It?

The 15 pieces of content made for the campaign generated 10m views. According to Newcastle, over 615 unique media stories were generated leading to over 1bn media impressions, totalling over $11m in earned media. The most striking insight is that Newcastle received a 416% brand uplift. This was compared to 187% for competitors, and Newcastle spent only 1/35th of their budgets to fund the campaign. It was the number 1 trending topic on Facebook for 2 days, which was longer than the term !Super Bowl” itself trended.



The campaign mirrored the real Super Bowl adverts with teasers, trailers and behind-the-scenes videos. The only difference here is that the actual advert was never going to exist.

Newcastle took every opportunity they could to make its campaign feel cheap and underwhelming, even though it was clear to see that it was anything but this. IfWeMadeIt.com was created and this acted as a hub for everything related to the campaign. Videos were posted here, storyboards were released here, and fans were given the opportunity to broadcast their views here. The tone of the campaign was expertly considered. The brand wasn’t afraid to poke fun at itself, yet still expressed a faux-serious aura throughout its communications. Without this tone of voice the campaign may well have seen preachy and contrived.

How Could It Change the Industry?

The If We Made It idea shows that consumers are growing tired of the conventional big-budget adverts that air during huge events like the Super Bowl. This isn’t to say that the Super Bowl adverts are redundant and ineffective – they’re very costly yet allow an advertiser to broadcast to a huge audience that’s unrivalled in both size and levels of engagement in an ad break. However, Newcastle managed to hijack this year’s Super Bowl ad break by reaching out to consumers and getting fans on their side with a clever and innovative message.

Newcastle proved that you don’t have to be in the big game to win the big game.

A campaign like this shows that it’s now possible for brands to hijack major events no matter how small their budgets may be. All it takes is a clever idea with a strong social and digital activation strategy and you can capture the imagination of the world. Hopefully this Newcastle execution encourages advertisers to experiment with similar ideas, but I don’t think another advertiser could completely mimic this campaign and succeed. Let’s hope that we don’t see any more “If We Made It” ads during next year’s Super Bowl – this one should remain unique.


Newcastle Brown Ale


Who’s Involved: Newcastle Brown Ale (Advertiser), Droga5 New York (Advertising Agency 1), Caviar Digital Los Angeles (Advertising Agency 2), Starcom Mediavest Group New York (Media Agency).

Cannes Performance: [1 Gold, 5 Silver, 1 Bronze] Gold Cyber Lion (Web Campaign: Food & Drinks), Silver Titanium and Integrated Lion, Silver PR Lion (Other Consumer Goods), Silver Media Lion (Digital & Social: Use of Social Platforms), Silver Cyber Lion (Craft: Storytelling), Silver Cyber Lion (Craft: Copy/Editorial), Bronze Cyber Lion (Online Video: Social Video).


Newcastle Brown Ale’s ad they didn’t make in its entirety.


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One comment

  1. […] to post: https://themediagopher.com/2014/07/04/the-media-gophers-grand-prix/ (July […]

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