The Story Behind KNOP’s Will Ferrell Super Bowl Ad

By Andrew Gauthier 

KNOP general manager Lewys Carlini had one thought when he first watched the now-famous Will Ferrell Super Bowl ad for Old Milwaukee: why’d it cut off?

“I had to watch it two or three times to make sure there wasn’t a technical problem,” Carlini told TVSpy today.  He even called the agency that placed the commercial to double-check that it was indeed supposed to cut off just as Ferrell starts saying “Old Milwaukee.”


Carlini personally reviewed all of the ads that were set to run during Sunday’s Super Bowl to make sure they were appropriate for air.

“I don’t want the halftime going on,” Carlini said, referring to MIA’s middle finger incident during the game’s halftime show.

Before the Old Milwaukee ad ran, Carlini didn’t know that KNOP would be the only station to air the commercial, but he suspected that “if they were doing more stations that it wouldn’t be a lot more.”

Carlini now suspects that his station was chosen since its the smallest market NBC-affiliate in the country.

The burst of attention that the Will Ferrell ad has brought KNOP is actually just the final part of a big week for the station.

Patriots running back Danny Woodhead is from North Platte and KNOP was able to send its sports director, Joe Swift (right), to Indianapolis to cover the Super Bowl.

Swift had the opportunity to interview Woodhead last week (Woodhead is familiar with Swift having played high school football in North Platte and college ball at Chadron State in northern Nebraska) and cover the big game in-person for KNOP.

As for the exact origin of the commercial, Pabst Brewing Company, which owns the brand, is saying nothing beyond a prepared statement for the media.

“The Old Milwaukee campaign featuring Will Ferrell, as a whole, is about paying homage to great Old Milwaukee towns,” the statement reads.  “North Platte, Neb., is just another one of those towns and what goes better with football than Old Milwaukee beer?”

So does KNOP’s Carlini drink Old Milwaukee?

“I think I did in high school,” he said.  “It was inexpensive.”