2014 EFFIE Award Preview: Big Boss Brewing's Beercade

Category: Media Idea

Agency: McKinney

Client: Big Boss Brewing

Title: Beercade

Marketing Challenge: 
When it comes to first-time beer trial, most handcraft breweries have just one tap out of a dozen in a bar, one tent among hundreds at a beer festival, or one sample glass among many on a tray. Add to that the fact that the beer is often poured by a distracted bartender, a wired beer rep or a harried festival worker. When the experience and the beer are forgettable, it does little for the brand. Our challenge was to help a small regional brewer — Big Boss Brewing — stand out in the sea of suds and win over new customers with a compelling trial experience. 



Creative Solution: Much of today’s bar-going, beer-drinking audience has fond memories of playing games like “Street Fighter” and “Mortal Kombat.” With old-school arcades having gone by the wayside, we saw potential in creating an unexpected experience that brought people together around two things they crave — beer and entertainment.

We created a beer-dispensing arcade that featured a Flash-based game called “The Last Barfighter.” The beercade cabinet, custom-built for the video screens, controls and beer keg, was wrapped with hand-illustrated panels designed to inspire players to unleash their inner beer warriors. And under the identical joysticks are beer taps instead of coin slots. Every component of “The Last Barfighter” was developed specifically for Big Boss, including the five game characters named for their signature beers and designed to reflect their labels. 

Two players stand side-by-side, insert their cups under the taps and choose a character to battle in what looks like a standard biker bar. Each fight goes three rounds with the characters using basic fighting moves like punches and kicks, as well as signature moves like fire throwing, unicorn horn impaling and butt slaps. The winning player gets a pour of domination from a keg inside the machine. The loser receives a mini-pour of shame.  

A promotional video that resembles a movie trailer was housed on YouTube and posted on Big Boss Brewing’s website. It was then tweeted to a number of press organizations and included in one press release.


Goal #1: Drive visits to 

After the release of the promotional video trailer on YouTube, site traffic to increased 400% and daily page views increased 254%. 

Goal #2: Get people talking about Big Boss Brewing and beercade.

The trailer on YouTube garnered 318,376 views, 113 comments and 1,333 likes. And people talked about it on Twitter, where mentions of Big Boss spiked after the official trailer was released in February 2013. 

  • Mentions of Big Boss Brewing increased 60% compared to pre-trailer mentions 
  • Twitter impressions from large sites like Engadget grew 45% 

The beercade story has also generated over 100 million PR impressions equaling more than $1.1 million in earned media, with $0 in paid media support.

Goal #3: Turn the buzz into increased distribution requests.

Since the unveiling of the beercade shortly after Big Boss’s Oktoberfest 2012 event, distributor requests for Big Boss have tripled.  

Effie Awards are known by advertisers and agencies globally as the pre-eminent award in the marketing industry and recognize any and all forms of communication that contribute to a brand's success. Gold, silver and bronze Effie winners will be announced at the 46th annual North American Effie Awards gala on June 5 in New York. 



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