New Belgium Brewing is running its first TV ad campaign in eight years, buying airtime in twelve markets across the country in order to help beer drinkers associate the name Fat Tire with the brewery itself, which wants to push the rest of its lineup.
But the commercial, a thirty-second spot created by Denver's Cultivator Advertising, won't be seen in Colorado -- where New Belgium is based.
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"We had to be kind of thrifty with our spending, so we wanted to go to places where our story could take root. It has already taken root in Colorado," says New Belgium spokesman Bryan Simpson. "We felt like our best spends would be further from here, where the awareness of New Belgium is lower and we could help increase it."
Some of those places, such as Washington, D.C., are new markets for the company, while others, like Phoenix, which has had New Belgium beers for years, just needed attention. "In our branding, we have always had this paradox where people know Fat Tire but not New Belgium," Simpson says of the brewery's flagship beer. "This is a way for them to get to know the rest of our portfolio. ... To me, our lineup is more interesting than it has ever been. There is a little something in there for everyone."
The other markets seeing the ads are: Atlanta Chicago, Dallas, Fort Worth, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Raleigh-Durham and San Diego.
"We ran some ads back in 2005 that were more eye candy and evocative of Colorado as a whole," Simpson says. "They were focused on Fat Tire, but not New Belgium as a brand."
The commercials will air on the four major networks, along with TNT and ESPN, during baseball and basketball games, late-night shows like Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O'Brien, and such sit-coms as How I Met Your Mother.
They were directed by Stacy Peralta, a 1970s-era skateboard legend, who went on to become a director and documentary filmmaker. Some of his credits include Dogtown and Z Boys and Riding Giants, along with a series of Burger King ads.
For New Belgium, he filmed brewery employees working and playing over a three-day period. The soundtrack was recorded by March Fourth Marching Band.
TV ads are unusual for craft brewers, most of which are small and can't afford to buy national airtime on a regular basis. The Boston Beer Company, which makes Samuel Adams, is probably the most well-known craft brewer with commercials. It is also the largest craft brewer in the country. New Belgium is the third-largest.
Breckenridge Brewery in Denver has run some TV spots spoofing the megabrewers, but most were aired just in Colorado; they were also produced by Cultivator.
Along with the TV ads, New Belgium also created a series of fifteen-second spots that will run in "digital, social and web" formats in thirty different states; they are mostly targeted toward he Millennial generation and are focused on Fat Tire.
The entire campaign, which is called "Pairs Well With People," began last week and will continue until Labor Day.
To see three of New Belgium's fifteen-second online spots, turn the page.
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