Tech in Action: Using AR to hijack the Super Bowl

Beer brand Finnegans created an app that turned any part of the broadcast into its own big game ad.

Tide may have gotten all the attention on Sunday for the “It’s a Tide Ad” Super Bowl spot, but a beer brand based not too far from where the big game was played used an AR app and a much smaller budget to do something very similar.

Finnegans is the fifth-largest beer company in the state of Minnesota, and running a commercial during the Super Bowl is out of its reach. The company is also a non-profit, using all of its profits to buy food from local farms to donate it to food banks and soup kitchens.

So, in the charitable spirit, Finnegans found a way to get some “donated” time during the game’s broadcast.

The beer brand worked with digital production house Pixel Farm to create an app that recognizes when a phone is being pointed at a TV. Once it does, it begins playing Finnegans’ own commercial over whatever happens to be on it at the moment.

The commercial – created by Minneapolis agency Martin Williams – was only available through the app and isn’t otherwise available online. It featured a guy named Tom talking about the brand and its goal to have a big game spot. The camera then pans to a variety of local Minnesota characters who talk about Finnegan’s good work in the community.

As an added touch, watching the video to its end resulted in virtual Finnegans beer cans being spewed into the user’s living room, allowing users to moved them around and attempt to stack them (if they were looking for something else to do while less-interesting ads were playing.)