This bizarre TV spot for Old Milwaukee beer starring Will Ferrell aired in exactly one TV market last night during the Super Bowl's local ad block at the end of the first half. That market is North Platte, Nebraska, and it's the second-smallest TV market in the country, ranking 209th out of 210. There are 15,180 TV homes in the North Platte market.
We don't quite know how Funny Or Die (who produced the ad and is a company part-owned by Ferrell) made the actual ad buy, but KNOP-TV President & General Manager Lewys Carlini told us it was out of the ordinary for them to sell ad time to a beer company—but—
We take buys/clients of all types. Apparently we were the guinea pig to a spot to possibly go viral. Looks like it's working.
Lewys's brother Ulysses is the station manager at KHAS-Hastings, one of three NBC affiliates in Nebraska (we already knew the Omaha affiliate did not air the spot). KHAS confirmed they didn't air the spot, either. Joel Ochoa, a former KNOP employee, said from talking to his former colleagues that the station was "blindsided by this today."
Given the number of people who have viewed the spot on Deadspin and elsewhere today, it's a brilliant marketing strategy—even for a Super Bowl spot. We're happy to bring you this HD version of the ad (which we now know is titled "Field Cut Off") and will update this story as we learn more about it.