Michelob Ultra Turns #TheMichelobGuy Viral Moment Into Official Merchandise
If you're on the internet as much as we are, you're probably familiar with the "not a cell phone in sight" meme. If not, the basic idea is: Take any image featuring a group of people, animals, whatever, and add to it the text "not a cell phone in sight—just people living in the moment." The more surreal and nonsensical the image, the better. Then, you get something like this:
Not a cell phone in sight. Just people living in the moment. Beautiful. pic.twitter.com/g4JHeynjSm
— SparkNotes (@SparkNotes) May 31, 2019
not a cell phone in sight, just people living in the moment pic.twitter.com/WtTKit3U7v
— jungkook's catholic funeral (@kirbeby) November 14, 2018
Anyway, it's been a favorite on Twitter. And, a weekend ago, a variation of it popped up using a photo from the PGA Championship, in which a lone Michelob-Ultra-drinking onlooker watches a Tiger Woods drive amid a sea of smartphones:
No cell phone. Just a man watching Tiger with a Michelob Ultra. pic.twitter.com/f5uCAwatqW
— Shooter McGavin (@ShooterMcGavin_) May 21, 2022
That (perfect) tweet quickly went viral, amassing 162,000 likes and firmly establishing #TheMichelobGuy as the internet's favorite phenomenon du jour. Michelob Ultra took it from there.
The brand tracked down #TheMichelobGuy—real name, Mark Radetic—and got permission to use his likeness in an ad. A few days after the tweet, Michelob released the ad. An hour after that, the brand released a T-shirt and hat featuring Radetic in his now-iconic pose, ensuring that both the man and the moment would live on forever in merchandise form.
We found #TheMichelobGuy. As you can imagine, Mark was hard to reach. He proved it’s only worth it if you enjoy it, so we immortalized him with some merch. Grab a tee and rock it at the next golf event for a chance to win some free ULTRA. pic.twitter.com/bfZRo0aQ1w
— Michelob ULTRA (@MichelobULTRA) May 24, 2022
A week or so later, both items are sold out (though there's a possibility Radetic gets his own Michelob Ultra cans). And the ad has gone on to rack up over 500,000 views on Twitter. Not bad for living in the moment.
Credit to Michelob Ultra for acting quickly to capitalize on the viral moment before the momentum died down, and especially for getting the merchandise launched in just a few days without it coming off half-baked. (The shirt looks really good!)
We can't say we're surprised, though. This is the brand that recently gave us a Super Bowl ad that had its own tie-in apparel line and an immersive NBA Jam pop-up experience featuring exclusive merchandise. Clearly, Michelob Ultra has bought into branded merchandise and made it a core component of its marketing strategy.
It's impossible to manufacture viral moments like #TheMichelobGuy, but when one comes along, it can be a massive opportunity for brands, as long as they act fast. Michelob Ultra showed us how.