Big Boss Case study THE LAST BARFIGHTER by McKinney Durham

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Industry Beers and Ciders
Media Case study
Market United States
Agency McKinney Durham
Designer Matt Lawson, Scott Pridgen
Producer Lisa Bentley, Ben Eckerson, Melissa Blavos
Released May 2013


Cannes Lions 2013
Branded content & entertaiment lions Branded Entertainment; Best use or integration of gaming Bronze

Credits & Description

Type of entry: Branded Entertainment
Category: Best use or integration of gaming
Product/Service: BEER
Agency: McKINNEY Durham, USA

Printing: (Glover Printing)
Creative Technology Director: Trevor O'brien (Mckinney)
Producer: Ben Eckerson (Mckinney)
Animator/Music: Forrest Maready (Mckinney)
Account Director: Anne Newton (Mckinney)
Producer: Lisa Bentley (Mckinney)
Producer: Melissa Blavos (Mckinney)
Character Design/Animator: Jacob Streiland (Mckinney)
Designer: Scott Pridgen (Mckinney)
Designer: Matt Lawson (Mckinney)
Cabinet Maker: Robert F. Maple ()
Producer/Programmer: Colin Dwan (Mckinney)
Associate Creative Director/Copywriter: Stevie Archer (Mckinney)
Associate Creative Director/Art Director: Owen Tingle (Mckinney)
Art Director/Programmer/Illustrator/Animator: Adam Carroll (Mckinney)
Chief Creative Officer: Jonathan Cude (Mckinney)

Describe the campaign/entry
Branded entertainment has exploded in the U.S. But for a brewery like Big Boss, creating and distributing branded entertainment come with some restrictions.

All content, including any pages on, must have age verifications. And any content associated with sampling beer must be monitored to ensure underage drinkers cannot have access.

Because our goal was to enhance the beer trial experience, our solution was designed to work best in venues that are already licensed to serve beer and require age verification, such as festivals and bars.

This allowed us to reach our target at the right times and simultaneously overcome the hurdles of U.S. alcohol advertisement restrictions.

The world of beer is quite crowded. At every bar there are tons of taps, and at every beer festivals enthusiasts are greeted by thousands of the same white tents.

Our challenge was to help a small regional brewer — Big Boss Brewing — stand out in the sea of suds and win over new customers.

Our strategy was to turn first-time beer trial at bars and festivals into an unforgettable experience. And what's more unforgettable than a battle to the death via an arcade game that pours you beer?

The beercade, featuring The Last Barfighter game, has cupholders in place of typical coin slots. To start, players insert their beer cups, then choose from five characters representing Big Boss's signature brews. Players fight three rounds with their opponent, kicking, butt slapping and impaling one another into submission. The last one standing receives a trial-sized pour dispensed automatically from the chilled keg inside the machine.

From the characters and sound design, to the game play and animation, every component of the beercade was created, developed and designed specifically for Big Boss.

The external game cabinet was custom-built to house the video screens, game controls and beer keg. Then it was wrapped with panels hand-illustrated in the typical arcade style to attract players and encourage them to unleash their inner beer warriors.

The beercade is a one-of-a-kind gaming experience created for Big Boss Brewing that combines an arcade game called The Last Barfighter and an automated keg that pours beer for the winner.

It has been featured during Big Boss events where beer enthusiasts are able to play, fight and sample their brews.

It is currently touring beer festivals and attracting even more thirsty players who hope to prove their barfighting prowess.

Thanks to a PR campaign and promotional video distributed via social media, the beercade has been featured by Huffington Post, Engadget,, NBC News, BuzzFeed and other national media sources.

Since its unveiling at a Big Boss Brewing Oktoberfest event, the beercade has generated over 100 million PR impressions equaling more than $1.1 million in earned media with $0 in paid media spent. NBC News called it "a flash of genius," while said simply, "Damn yeah!"

After the release of a promotional video for the beercade on YouTube, the average daily unique visitors to increased 292% and daily page views increased 254%.

The Last Barfighter's success has translated into beer sales, too. Big Boss has experienced a 200% increase in distributor requests.