An Omaha Productions Bud Light ad. An Omaha Productions Bud Light ad. (Omaha Productions on YouTube.)

Omaha Productions is known for a lot of original content, from founder Peyton Manning’s ManningCast alternate broadcasts with brother Eli to shows like Peyton’s Places and its spinoffs to documentaries like Quarterback to a variety of podcasts with different athletes and media figures. But they also do a fair bit of work in branded content. Most recently, they’ve rolled out a “Peyton It Forward” ad for Bud Light promoting a Super Bowl ticket and concert ticket giveaway. That ad features eight of NFL players past and present, including Manning, Saquon Barkley, Emmitt Smith and many more, and it came together in just three weeks from conception to execution:

Via email, Bud Light vice president of marketing Todd Allen told AA Omaha was a great fit to pull this together. “Working with these athletes to get the message out about our Super Bowl ticket giveaway has been an incredible experience. As the Official Beer Sponsor of the NFL, we’re fortunate to work alongside Omaha to bring in some of the best players in the league, each bringing their own personality and creativity to the brand.” And Omaha head of marketing Kristen Herlihy told AA in an email interview that being able to create top content without a long lead time is part of what makes their company stand out.

“Quick-turn digital content is our specialty at Omaha,” Herlihy said. “We’re a nimble team that is accustomed to pulling together our collective resources quickly to put the entire brain trust behind an idea that inspires us. When the Bud Light team tasked us to come up with an organically engaging way to promote their Super Bowl LVIII Ticket Giveaway, we jumped at the opportunity to flex that creative muscle alongside them.”

Turning an ad around this fast isn’t easy, especially when it involves a lot of high-profile athletes in different locations. Herlihy said they were able to do this because the athletes involved largely already had relationships with Bud Light, but they had some help in pulling this off.

“Most of the players featured in the content are existing Bud Light athletes. For this project in particular we linked arms with our friends at Genesco Sports Enterprises to pull together athletes in really short notice in order to execute this idea.”

After getting the athletes on board, Omaha had to figure out how to get their remotely-shot videos to fit together smoothly. But Herlihy said they’ve done a lot of work on developing consistent, high-quality remote shooting protocols, and that paid off here.

“Therese Andrews, Omaha’s Head of Production, is the mastermind behind maintaining consistency and an extremely high bar for quality across so many different filming locations. Our production team has a detailed playbook that we run for remotely produced digital content to ensure we’re matching lighting, camera specs, capturing the correct angles, and overall quality control.”

Speaking of the “organically engaging” idea Bud Light wanted here, that’s a big focus for Omaha with branded content. Herlihy said they want to create ads not just for conventional TV slots, but ads that will reach fans and spark shares and discussion on social media platforms.

“Social content is a huge part of not just the branded content strategy in terms of what we deliver for our partners, but also the overall marketing strategy at Omaha. We need to meet fans where they spend time – which increasingly is on social media platforms – to communicate a message. And we do this by leading with entertainment over a straight sell. If we can grab fan attention through content that’s already in line with their normal consumption habits and bring them to the top of the funnel, that’s half the battle!”

Along those lines, like many of Omaha’s projects, this ad features some humor. It has the included players each trying to take the credit for and put their own name on the “Peyton it Forward” idea, much to Manning’s chagrin. Herlihy said humor is an important tool for them, and that comes right from Manning.

“The content we create often reflects the qualities of our founder, who happens to have a pretty great sense of humor! We also find humor tends to be a great unifier. Omaha strives to create uplifting content that everyone can enjoy, and humor can be a good path to accomplish that.”

And Herlihy said Bud Light was a good fit for Omaha to work with given their overlapping values and goals.

“Teaming up with great partners like Bud Light is central to our ‘why’ at Omaha. When we find brands who share the same core values and interests as us, we see it as another opportunity to help them achieve their goals and establish meaningful, long-term relationships,” she said. “We’re extremely proud to partner up with Todd Allen, Steve Wolf, Lauren Foley and the rest of the team at Bud Light that is focused on bringing people together through fandom, celebration of our commonalities, and light-hearted humor. These goals fit perfectly with the type of content Omaha strives to create on a daily basis and are core to who we are as a company.”

That makes sense, too, considering that Manning just did a different Bud Light ad with Emmitt Smith (also featured here):

Herlihy said Omaha wants to keep growing their branded content efforts, but they’re not planning too far out there yet.

“We’re not looking too far down the field. We’re focused on doing good work and being great partners. We are fortunate to be working with some amazing brands that want to find ways to bring people together.”

And she said the reception to this partnership has been strong so far.

“Omaha is excited and proud of the response to the content with Bud Light. The process was a lot of fun and we’re happy people are enjoying it.”

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.