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Creating the World’s First Bettable Ad at the Super Bowl


Molson Coors’ CMO and Droga5 creatives on the DraftKings-integrated, Jackie Chan-inspired fight between Miller Lite and Coors Light, writes LBB’s Ben Conway

Creating the World’s First Bettable Ad at the Super Bowl

Super Bowl LVII marked the return of Molson Coors to the game of games. After 30 years of exclusivity for AB InBev, other alcohol brands could finally air spots during the game’s coverage again - and Molson Coors took full advantage. The drinks company partnered with creative agency Droga5, director Ian Pons Jewell and American sports betting company DraftKings to create a first-of-its-kind bettable ad that allowed audiences to predict various aspects of the spot before it premiered during the Big Game - potentially earning them some prize money.

The spot itself pays homage to kung-fu and other action movie genres - with a nod to Daniels’ recent Oscar-winner ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ - by showing a pair of barroom brawlers representing two of Molson Coors’ beer brands, Miller Lite and Coors Light, duking it out to earn their spot in the ad itself. Spoiler alert! Neither of the brands win - being pipped at the post by another of Molson Coor’s brands, Blue Moon. 

After being teased in the weeks leading up to the event via OOH and social posts, through DraftKings’ online platform, fans could bet on various elements of the ‘High Stakes Beer Ad’, from the brand that is mentioned first to the number of people who appear in the spot with facial hair. The unique activation saw a quarter of a million people placing their bets ahead of the game, making it the largest non-sporting event in DraftKings’ history.

To discuss how this innovative campaign came to be, LBB’s Ben Conway sat down with Molson Coors’ chief marketing officer Sofia Colucci and Droga5’s executive creative directors, Chris Colliton and Kevin Weir.

LBB> This was Molson Coors’ first Super Bowl ad in 30 years - was there added pressure around that? How did you want to make a big splash on the return?

Sofia> This year’s Super Bowl was a huge opportunity for our brands. The Super Bowl is one of the largest beer-selling moments outside of summer, and that’s why we’ve spent so much energy hijacking it over three decades, sneaking in through side doors or chimneys or any other way we could. We couldn’t turn down the opportunity to get back into the game through the front door this year, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that the decision to buy this Super Bowl spot took less than a minute. We, of course, needed to make sure that we captured attention and entertained our fans for those 30 seconds on air, but ultimately, our focus was on engaging consumers early on and giving them reasons to reach for our brands and our beer. 

Chris> This was a huge moment for Molson Coors, for Droga5 and for beer in general. It was an amazing brief, but we knew we had to do something unprecedented to make it count. Our first big swing was to put two rival beers in the same campaign. The second was an idea that may forever change advertising: let’s make the world’s first bettable ad.  

LBB> You’re, of course, referring to the DraftKings integration - where people could predict elements of the spot and win real cash - how did this aspect come about?

Sofia> DraftKings has been a successful partner for us in the past, so it was a no-brainer to work with them during a huge moment like the Super Bowl. Online betting has never been more relevant in culture, and the AGA reported that almost 50 million Americans were expected to bet on the NFL this past season.

Chris> While sports betting was spiking in popularity, people were betting on a lot more than NFL games. Reality TV shows and political elections were drawing serious action at these sportsbooks. 

Sofia> We thought if this behaviour is already happening all over the place, why not let people predict the details of a Super Bowl commercial? 

LBB> The big secret before airing was who the ad would actually be for. Ultimately, Blue Moon emerged as the surprise winner. How did you develop this idea of pitting your brands against each other?

Chris> We came in with a strong opinion that pitting Coors Light against Miller Lite (two of the biggest light beers in the world) was the way to go. It was something we’d never seen and something only a company like Molson Coors could pull off. But the real ‘aha’ moment came when we decided the spot shouldn’t just be a fight between beers, but a fight for the ad itself. This is what made the end card the perfect finish line… and the perfect place for a surprise. The debate raged until the final hours on what the winning beer should be (we shot eight endings), but ultimately, Blue Moon was the perfect choice - incredibly unexpected, widely known and in our personal opinions, hilarious.

LBB> How independent are the Miller, Coors and Blue Moon teams, in terms of their marketing? Do you have a central strategy and team, or does each brand usually take responsibility for its unique ‘flavour’ of marketing?

Sofia> Within our diverse portfolio of brands, it’s important that we strategically position each brand differently, so they all have a clear path to win. All of our brands have unique jobs to do within our overall portfolio, whether that’s speaking to specific consumers or owning key drinking occasions. It’s essential that each brand has its own unique tone and flavour of marketing to make our brands stand out from the sea of sameness within the category. For the Super Bowl, we assembled a team of people from across brands and departments to ensure we were looking at this campaign not only as an opportunity to build our brands but also to drive pride among our employees and our broader network, and - of course - to sell a heck of a lot of beer!

LBB> Following from that - what are the opportunities presented by a campaign that combines the different brands?

Sofia> We loved bringing together Miller Lite and Coors Light for the first time ever. Historically, it’s been important to differentiate Coors Light and Miller Lite, but for a moment as big as the Super Bowl, we wanted to pull out all the stops. Bringing these brands together in this way made the whole campaign even more attention-grabbing and created some healthy competition within our own walls, too! 

LBB> The spot takes inspiration from Kung-Fu movies and other cinema fight scenes - why was this the direction you chose? Where did you take inspiration from and who did you work with to bring this vision to life?

Kevin> The idea for a bar fight came pretty early, but we wanted to make sure it stood out from everything else on Super Bowl Sunday. We were attracted to a lot of Jackie Chan films. His fights, while packed with action, feel more like a dance than violence. His resourcefulness also brings a lot of humour to his scenes. The whole team also loved ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ - there is a great behind-the-scenes video from that movie about its stunt team that got us really excited about some moves we could try. Kung fu is generally pretty fast, so we also mixed in some inspiration from big cinematic moments you’d find in Marvel movies to help keep the pace under control. 

We had amazing partnerships with Prod Co., Framestore, Strings and Tins and Company 3. Our director, Ian Pons Jewell, and his team spent weeks choreographing, rehearsing and ultimately filming the fight sequence. He did a masterful job balancing the humour of the spot with some truly impressive action sequences. The craft and camera techniques he brought to the production really helped the work stand out in a sea of ads that seemed to look pretty similar.  

LBB> The fighters utilise various unlikely weapons - from beer mats to hot dogs - how was the process of writing these hilarious sequences and the accompanying cheesy dialogue? What are some of your favourites?

Kevin> This was probably the most fun part of the project to write. We had quite a few options and looked at many more that didn’t show up in the final film. Ninja-star bar coasters were one of the first bits we wrote and managed to stick around. These two characters are fighting over whose commercial it is, so it naturally allows you to get pretty branded with the dialogue and propping. We found the more overt it was, the better it worked. The chant of ‘Coors Light! Miller Lite! Coors Light!’ got a pretty big laugh the first time we heard it.

LBB> What was the hardest challenge you faced on this project? How did you overcome it?

Chris> The hardest part was figuring out how we could legitimately pull off letting people make picks and predict the ad. There had never been a bettable ad before, and as you can imagine, there are a lot of rules and legal things that come with that. We worked really closely with DraftKings and Molson Coors to keep this part as pure as possible, even if that meant shooting different versions, finishing multiple endings and keeping everyone in the dark (except for a team of three) about which spot would actually go to air. Not even the Molson Coors CEO knew! 

LBB> How has the reaction been to the campaign? And when will you start preparing for next year’s Big Game? Will we see another battle for the spot?

Chris> Over 250,000 people made over 3 million picks, making ‘The High Stakes Beer Ad’ the biggest non-sporting event in DraftKings history. 

Sofia> We were ranked as the top beer ad from Adweek and Ad Age, and Adweek deemed our ad as the third best of the entire game. We saw incredible press coverage with over 8 billion impressions. According to IPSOS, we saw that our ad was effective, too, outperforming the beer category on breakthrough and brand linkage. Best of all, we saw screen time increase for three of our most iconic brands, after revealing that it was actually a Blue Moon ad all along. 

As to whether we'll be in the Super Bowl next year? Only time will tell if and how we show up! 

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Droga5 New York, Wed, 15 Mar 2023 15:22:00 GMT