Newcastle & Aubrey Plaza Look to ‘Crowdsource’ a Local Super Bowl Ad

Crowdfunding has produced everything from limited-edition records and books to T-shirts, health products and drone technology. To date, though, crowdfunding hasn’t cracked the biggest advertising stage in the world: that big American football game in February.

The brand geniuses at Newcastle Brown Ale, who made their great beer famous during last year’s Big Game season, are up to the challenge. Newcastle is in no position to drop $4.5 million for 30 seconds of air time during a football game. Instead, Newcastle is introducing its “Band of Brands,” the first-ever crowdfunded Big Game ad.

Newcastle_Brown_Ale_logoBut where your average crowdfunding campaign relies on consumers to become a reality, the Band of Brands is made entirely of Newcastle’s peers in the business world. In exchange for a small contribution, any brand can join Newcastle’s team and have its logo and messaging featured in an actual Big Game spot.

“At first we tried to sneak our way into the Big Game by entering a popular commercial contest put on by a certain snack chip brand, but that didn’t work out for us. Now we’re trying to leverage ‘strength in numbers’ to see what that does for us,” said Priscilla Flores Dohnert, brand director for Newcastle Brown Ale. “Everyone loves a great underdog story. What’s more ‘underdog’ than being short on cash and not having the right to advertising during the game?”

Getting all these brands together — and keeping all the messaging straight — is going to be a bit like herding cats, which is why Newcastle is turning to a veteran cat lover: “Parks and Recreation” star Aubrey Plaza. She’ll star in two videos aimed at drawing companies to the Band of Brands project and teasing the final Band of Brands commercial’s debut.

“I really admire Newcastle’s commitment to doing as little work as possible,” Plaza said. “It’s funny to see a brand that’s so dedicated to Big Game domination that they try to hand off the work to other brands.”

We hope she’s not being sarcastic. But she probably is.

Newcastle welcomes submissions to join the Band of Brands through Jan. 21. Interested companies can submit their proposal for consideration to Newcastle at

Newcastle’s 2014 Super Bowl effort, “If We Made It,” told the story of Newcastle’s theoretical “Mega Huge Game Day Ad” — a spot that was never actually produced. The program, including trailers, teasers, storyboards and videos starring Anna Kendrick and Keyshawn Johnson, was named Adweek’s 2014 Ad of the Year.

The “Band of Brands” program was created by Newcastle in partnership with Droga5, Fast Horse and MediaVest, as part of Newcastle’s long-running “No Bollocks” campaign, which takes a lighthearted, no-nonsense, honest approach to marketing by shining a light on the silly, stale and sometimes deceptive clichés often found in beer advertising.

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