Annual Big Rock Brewery competition now offering tips on how to produce a winning ad

Ever watch a TV commercial and think, “I could make a better ad than that?”

Well now you can.

Calgary’s Big Rock Brewery is once again offering their consumers the chance to create and produce their own commercials for the beer brand in their annual Big Rock Eddies competition.

The local family-owned craft beer company was named after an oversized granite glacial rock found outside Okotoks, Alta.

In lieu of expensive ad campaigns, Big Rock Brewery offers the public a chance to produce their own viral ads, which will be streamed online.

To give applicants their best chance of winning the $10,000 grand prize – and coveted bragging rights – the brewery hosts their first-ever “How to make a Big Rock Eddie” weekly seminar every Wednesday night until March 14.

So just what exactly does the seminar entail?

Karla Petersen, Big Rock Brewery’s key properties supervisor also known as the “beer fairy” is the bubbly host of the weekly seminar.

Upstairs at the bar, located in the administration building of the brewing company’s headquarters, she pours a beer from one of the numerous beer taps behind the bar – all carrying a member of the Big Rock Brewery beer family.

Petersen explains that the weekly seminars are essentially a free, fun and informative night in which applicants and consumers just looking to learn more about the brewery can “come hang out, see some of the great Eddies of the past and find out how to make a winning Eddie, while enjoying some beer.”

“This event is to try to spark the creative genius inside people and to give them great tips on how to make an award-winning Eddie,” Petersen says.

Every year Big Rock Brewery receives hundreds of print and video submissions. The videos are limited to 60 seconds or fewer and can feature any or all of the Big Rock Brewery craft beers – submissions deadline is March 30.

Staff of the brewery collectively watch the videos and nominate the top 30, which are then sent to the McNally family – the heirs to the Big Rock Brewery empire. There the competition gets narrowed down further. The McNallys choose the top 18 finalists that will be screened at the Eddies awards gala.

The winner is announced at the end of the night and receives “all the fame and glory of a Big Rock Eddie,” Petersen says. “As well as the $10,000 prize of course.”

Jordan Ekelund, Big Rock brewer and staff judge for the Eddies, says he appreciates the ones that make him laugh the most.

“I like the really funny ones, and then the clever ones that really make you think,” Ekelund says.

The History behind the Eddies

Ed McNally founded the Big Rock Brewery in the early 1980s. At age 60 during the middle of a recession, he decided he was going to open up a craft brewery, explains Petersen.The Big Rock Brewery is located in the south east of Calgary and offers regular free tours.
Photo courtesy of: Big Rock Brewery

“McNally went against the grain, so to speak at this time, because he decided he wanted to create a pure malt beer, using only Alberta barley.”

Petersen adds that as the company grew, McNally kept getting approached with lots of unsolicited advice from ad executives that tried to convince him to spend an obscene amount of money on advertising.

“Ed thought it was way too much money and would be totally impractical,” she says. “So he decided he was going to get the people who drink Big Rock to make a commercial instead.”

And this is how the Big Rock Eddies were born.

McNally recognized that a customer — who is intimately involved with the product — would be better suited at capturing all the nuances of the brand because they know Big Rock beer better than anyone.

“So in true Big Rock style, we’ve made it an event,” Petersen adds.

Seminar attendee Lenny Turple says that he is not sure yet whether he will enter the competition this year but that the evening was “definitely fun, interesting and the beer was good.”

When asked what he would do if he won the grand prize, Turple jokingly chuckled “I would use the $10K to buy more beer.”

For more tips, to reserve a spot at a “How to make a Big Rock Eddie” seminar or to find out more about the Big Rock Eddies visit their website.

cdemuelenaere@cjournal.ca