New Belgium Plays Up Bike Connection

A campaign for New Belgium Brewing plays up its bicycle-friendly attitude.

The effort, from Denver-based Cultivator Advertising & Design, includes TV, digital, print and a sweepstakes. It is running in nine states in 14 DMAs nationwide. Media is handled by Vizeum, New York.

Before the spots (directed by ex-skateboader/surfer Stacy Peralta) wind up comfortably within the beer category’s “good times” genre, they begin darkly. In between, we see some of the more outrageous ways in which cyclists (of the non-motor variety) and their cyclist friends assemble/compete/do combat. The campaign includes the brand’s year-old “Pairs well with people” tag.

The Fort Collins, Colo.-based craft brewery sponsors the 12-city, multi-day Tour de Fat bike extravaganza, now in its 15th year; its flagship brew is Fat Tire Ale; employees are actively encouraged to bike to, and in some cases, even at work.

Three TV spots broke in mid-May. The first spot, which is 30 seconds, opens on some tough-looking, bearded, helmeted, and black leather-clad bikers, as they gear up to roll. They are the “Chopaderos,” self-described “world wide outlaw bicycle club,” into “togetherness, drinking and blowing people’s minds with our wild looking chops.” Tagged “Pairs well with Choppers/Easy Riding/Freedom/People.”

“Junkyard,” also 30 seconds, showcases the “world’s only Junkyard Cyclocross,” hosted by Bilenky Cycle Works, Philadelphia. Guys saw through twisted scrap metal car parts to build a course “through toxic puddles and around broken glass.” Fans cheer and they race, donning purple tutus and yellow dresses to do so. Tagged “Pairs well with Recycling/Cow Bells/Victory/People.”

In the last spot, the 15-second “Joust,” combatants suit up and go Medieval. They’ve got football helmets for armor, tall-frame bikes for steeds, and, thankfully, lances tipped with a padded boxing glove. It’s still painful, but bike jousting clubs happily compete across the country. Tagged “Pairs well with Grass Stains/Ice Packs/People.”

The campaign aims to create a series of digital shorts that “really celebrate unconventional bike culture,” says Melyssa Mead, New Belgium Brewing creative director.

“I met the Chopaderos (outlaw bike club) at the San Diego Tour de Fat and just loved the culture they had built around their custom bikes,” Mead tells Marketing Daily. “At New Belgium events, there have been elements of bike jousting and, while we host a cross bike series here at the brewery, we also fell in love with Bilenky's junkyard bike race and the spirit behind it. The campaign raises a beer to all the bike communities who have helped us grow."

The campaign is focused on key markets: Austin, Texas; Chicago;  Colorado Springs, Colo.; Denver;  Grand Junction, Colo.; Grand Rapids, Mich.;  Indianapolis;  Madison, Wis.; Milwaukee;  Phoenix;  Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Sacramento, Calif.; San Diego and San Francisco.
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