Goose Island Wins With Viral #FieldGoalChallenge After Cody Parkey’s Miss
Chicago Bears fans were cursing and crying. Philadelphia Eagles fans were giving thanks. Twitter users everywhere were churning out memes. And Goose Island was brewing up the best next stunt to capitalize on the moment.
On January 6, Cody Parkey missed a 43-yard field goal in the final seconds of the Bears’ National Football League wild-card playoff loss to the Eagles. The kick that could have turned the 26-year-old into a Chicago hero, if it had converted, resulted instead with Parkey receiving death threats from Bears “fans” and cash via Venmo from grateful Philadelphia supporters.
Goose Island; however, saw an opportunity to put its own twist on the event in the brewery’s hometown of Chicago. The day after the now-infamous kick (which, by the way, was actually tipped by an Eagles defender upon review), the craft beer company issued a challenge to disgruntled fans.
On January 12, the challenge began — successfully kick a 43-yard field goal and win NFL tickets. Successfully kick a 65-yarder, too, and win an all-expense paid trip for two to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta on February 3 (the city shut down Goose Island’s original award, which was free beer to the winners). Despite the snow, hundreds showed up to witness the event outside of a Goose Island taproom with 101 participants involved. Thousands more interacted via social to take part in the fun. To no one’s surprise (except, well, maybe each of the participants), all came up short. And that is putting it nicely.
Anheuser-Busch’s Goose Island, despite not having an official relationship with the Bears, or a deal with any other NFL team for that matter, managed to steal the conversation on social media for a period of time in an authentic and light-hearted manner. MillerCoors’ products serve as the official beer of the Bears and three other teams, while fellow AB brand Bud Light dominates the field with twenty-eight exclusive team relationships.
The NFL playoffs are some of the most talked about and viewed events on television, and the #FieldGoalChallenge, as the stunt was dubbed, showcases how brands can inject themselves into the chatter surrounding such high-profile events, while refraining from shelling out millions of dollars on partnerships, and remaining true to itself. Consumers hate when brands look desperate.
It should be no surprise that Goose Island took advantage of such a viral event that occurred in its own backyard. Discussing its struggles in recent years, the Chicago Tribune wrote, “Goose Island’s story is therefore returning to Chicago – an effort to tie the brewery not just to its hometown, but to cities in general: urban and bustling, with a dose of cosmopolitan and hip.”
Todd Ahsmann, the company’s president, questioned aloud whether enough was being done to genuinely connect with Chicago.
“It’s something that can be owned and is differentiating for Goose Island. Think about it: Can you think of any other nationally distributed craft brewer based out of a city?”
Given this focus, the controversial kick was the perfect situation for Goose Island to benefit from. And by all measures, the event was deemed a success. Ahsmann’s brand connected to its city, Chicagoans received some complimentary therapy after that heartbreaking loss to the Eagles, and because no winners emerged, Goose Island donated $20,000 to the charity of Parkey’s choosing – the Lurie Children’s Hospital.
“I would say that Chicago Bears fans were in need of therapy and we held a successful session. There are a lot of smiles around the streets right now,” Ahsmann told ESPN. “It was really cool to see Chicagoans just being lighthearted about everything.