12:25pm PT by Andy Lewis
Canadian Budweiser Flash Mob Super Bowl Ad Goes Viral
The Super Bowl ad, which may be the best of the year so far, will not be seen on American television.
A Budweiser spot intended only for Canadian audiences has gone viral, with some labeling it the winner of this year's ad showdown.
The commercial features two Canadian recreational league hockey teams surprised by a flash mob of cheering fans that fill their empty arena. To create an authentic reaction to the flash mobs, the teams were kept in the dark that Budweiser had actually recruited thousands of extras at a $150 day rate to play the cheering fans in the commercial. Prior to filming, both teams were told the company was merely producing a documentary about amateur hockey and would be filming their game.
The ad, produced just for Canadian television, has gone viral in the United States, with its YouTube video getting nearly 500,000 hits in the first 24 hours online. Yahoo Sports called it "a really cool commercial" and Bostinno.com, an online news site, called it the "Super Bowl commercial of the decade."
The commercial begins with two amateur teams in Port Credit, Ontario -- the Generals and the Amigos-- skating in an empty arena. Suddenly thousands of fans sporting jerseys and team color-painted faces start pouring in, Budweiser banners unfurl, mascots appear, announcers start a play-by-play and the beer league game is transformed into a professional-looking matchup.
"Not that I was ever in the professional leagues anywhere, but this is how I imagine it would be," one of the Generals players said after the game.