Variety has reported that NBC is charging a record $4.5 million for a 30-second Super Bowl spot this year. Is it worth it? Well, considering it’s one of the few times ads themselves generate significant earned media coverage, maybe. But it’s not the only way to earn buzz for you brand on Super Bowl Sunday. Non-advertisers aren’t allowed to refer to the game as the Super Bowl or even call the teams by their full names, but nonetheless plenty of brands that don’t advertise receive tons of buzz during “Big Game” season, and this year it’s headed to a new level.

Real-time/ambush marketing during the Super Bowl is nothing new. Each year, PR strategists and brand marketers head into war rooms on Super Bowl Sunday, interacting with fans and brands, with the goal of gaining coveted earned buzz without forking over $4.5 million dollars. If you’ve worked in PR or advertising for more than 10 seconds, I’m sure you’ve heard about the infamous Oreo “Dunk in the Dark” tweet, which is often referenced as ultimate example of real-time marketing. Engaging on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine, each brand tries to be wittier than competitors, commenting on the game and razzing one another, with the end goal of social buzz and media mentions on Monday.

This year, Newcastle Brown Ale is taking this model to a whole new level. The brand is packing a one-two punch not only by taking advantage of viral Big Game buzz, but by using the buzz help them create an actual Super Bowl ad.* How? they are crowd sourcing through a viral video to fund a true Super Bowl ad.

Newcastle’s tongue-in-cheek video, Band of Brands, puts out a call to action, asking the small brands to “chip in for an ad we’d all be proud of, because all 20-30 brands are crammed into it… Instead of blowing Newcastle’s marketing budget, let’s all team up and blow all of our marketing budgets!”

The company just flipped the Super Bowl model on its head, thanks to social media.

Today is the deadline, so head to BandofBrands.com to submit your brand for consideration. According to tweets from Newcastle, Sharper Image, McClure’s Pickles, Boost Mobile, Armstrong Flooring and Beanitos all have signed on so far.

This is only the beginning of Newcastle’s campaign. They’ll be announcing the brands they’ve chosen in style, I’m sure. And of course, we’ll all have our eyes glued to the TV on Super Bowl Sunday to see how the ad turns out. It’s the perfect storm – viral and paid. This campaign will have some serious legs.

 

*Note: the ad only will be aired in local markets because Anheuser Busch holds exclusive national Super Bowl beer advertising rights. But never fear, it will be all over YouTube, of course.