Will Ferrell starred in a Super Bowl commercial last night. But you probably didn’t see it, unless you live in the second-smallest television market in the nation. Funnyman Ferrell continued his clandestine campaign for Old Milwaukee beer in North Platte, Nebraska, a market of only 15,180 TV households, according to the 2012 Nielsen ratings. Out of 210 markets, North Platte ranks #209. But despite the commercial airing to such a paltry audience, Old Milwaukee is facing quite a morning-after buzz thanks to Ferrell’s goofy yet simple commercial.
Piggybacking off his small-town successes in Davenport, Iowa (Market #100) and Terre Haute, Indiana (#154), Ferrell took his big ideas even smaller in heading to North Platte. The Old Milwaukee-shilling Ferrell catered to the fine Nebraska folks with a slow-motion traipse through the amber waves of grain. Fitting, as his ads are known for showing something iconic about the town they’re aired to. In Davenport, he went fishing in the Mississippi River, the city’s lifeblood. In Terre Haute, he stood in the middle of the town’s iconic “Crossroads of America” intersection. In Nebraska, Ferrell makes it clear that corn rules.
(PROFILE: Will Ferrell: Brilliant Idiot)
Clad in plaid shorts, his stroll through the cornfield takes so long that he gets just a single word out before the commercial cuts to black. Though, crucially, he manages to pop open the can of Old Milwaukee – on a side note, we’re not sure what is it about the beer, but it always seems to explode when opened. It’s unclear what drew Ferrell to North Platte – perhaps, like he explained during his Davenport, Iowa ad, it seemed “like something that would be fun to do.” Or maybe it was simply to capitalize on the Super Bowl interest in North Platte, as Patriots running back Danny Woodhead grew up in the tiny town.
But evidently North Platte wasn’t ready for its nationwide primetime close-up – at least, not during the Super Bowl. After all, a national commercial would have cost $3.5 million just to air, and millions more were spent on each ad’s production. Airtime in North Platte? A maximum of $1,500 for a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl, KNOP-TV general manager Lewys Carlini tells NewsFeed. Upon receiving the ad, Carlini says he “was a little confused” but had no hesitation about airing the ad featuring the Hollywood bigshot alongside other ads from local car dealers and the Nebraska Lottery. And despite Old Milwaukee’s tiny budget and even smaller audience, the Pabst-owned beer brand is finding quite a following – for their ads, at least. It’s unclear if the small-town shilling is helping boost Old Milwaukee’s beer sales, but if their sales goals are anything like their ad campaigns, they’ve got nowhere to go but up.