Saint Archer Brewing’s San Diego-based ad to air Sunday during the ‘Big Game’

Rolling through O.B., seeking the right light beer. A still from the ad “Patience.”
(Courtesy of Saint Archer Brewing)

Commercial shot in locations around San Diego, from Ocean Beach to Interstate 5


America will be introduced to San Diego’s Saint Archer Brewing via a TV spot Sunday. The 30-second commercial will air during, ahem, “the Big Game.”

Just don’t call this a “Super Bowl ad.”

That’s because Saint Archer is owned by Molson Coors. That brewing conglomerate’s main rival, Anheuser-Busch, annually purchases the exclusive rights to alcohol-related commercials during the Super Bowl. This year, a television audience of nearly 100 million is expected to see plugs for a raft of A-B products: Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Michelob Ultra Pure Gold.

Yet consumers in 70-plus markets also will see “Patience,” a wordless mini-drama promoting Saint Archer Gold, a low-cal, low-carb beer. The ad shows pro skateboarder Paul Rodriguez, a Saint Archer founder, rolling through Ocean Beach, Point Loma, Golden Hill and other San Diego neighborhoods, seeking — and finally scoring — a 12-pack of Gold. (Throughout his odyssey, Rodriguez slides past piles of unsold Michelob Ultra.)

Buying time in individual markets, Molson Coors was able to slip through Anheuser-Busch’s ad blockade. While this year’s official Super Bowl ads will produce viral memes and millions of YouTube plays — R2D2 and C3PO on a grocery run! John Legend and Chrissy Tiegen plugging a car! Maisie Williams, aka Arya from “Game of Thrones,” crooning “Let it Go”! — “Patience” has a low-key vibe.

During the entire spot, Rodriguez whistles Guns N’ Roses’ melancholy “Patience.” Although store after store has sold out its stocks of Gold, Rodriguez just keeps rolling along, unruffled and undeterred. There are no special effects, no A-list cameos, no pop culture shout-outs.

This is Saint Archer’s first national TV ad, vice president of marketing Adam Warren noted, and Gold is its first nationally-distributed beer. First impressions matter.

“We want to show we have soul and that we come from a place that we take very seriously,” Warren said. “It wasn’t about making an epic, over-the-top ad that will get replayed on every platform. There’s something to be said about doing something at our speed, and not getting caught up in the moment.”

The ad was approved in mid-December and shot in early January. Molson Coors declined to share the cost of the production, or how much it will spend to air the ad.

“We can say we’re putting a significant marketing budget behind this launch,” noted a corporate spokesperson.

Fox, which is broadcasting the game, has pegged the cost of a 30-second ad during this year’s contest at $5 million to $5.6 million.

Molson Coors products have been missing from Super Bowl action for years. In 2009, the company created a one-second ad for Miller High Life — an actor dressed as a beer truck driver yelled “High Life!” — that ran online and then migrated to TV stations in about 100 markets. But this was not an official Super Bowl ad. That year, like this, Anheuser-Busch had that playing field to itself.

Yet High Life sales jumped almost 9 percent in the week following the, um, Big Game.