When the NFL earlier this year finally lifted its liquor ad ban, it was unclear how many brands would take advantage of the loosened rules, which still come with more restrictions than those governing beer ads.
But a few brands are testing the waters as they seek to take advantage of the NFL's high viewership. Patron has confirmed that it will air the above ad during the first Sunday-night game of the season on Sept. 10 when the Giants face the Cowboys on NBC. The 15-second spot is not the sexiest ad. It merely shows tequila being poured into a glass. Patron uses MullenLowe for creative advertising and the agency's MediaHub for media.
While beer brands can use football themes in their NFL ads as long as they don't use active players, liquor brands are prohibited from deploying pigskin narratives of any kind. Patron's spot still manages to make a subtle gameday reference with the "Here's to a Great Start" line, which could be seen as an allusion to week one of the season.
Liquor brands also face tight ad-buying restrictions. The number of 30-second liquor ads allowed per game is capped at four, with a limit of two ads in any quarter or within halftime. Also, at least 20% of ads airing during the season must "consist exclusively of social responsibility messaging."
"Given the NFL's tremendous popularity and broad reach, it was a no-brainer for us to look at advertising opportunities," Patron Global Chief Marketing Officer Lee Applbaum said in a statement to Ad Age.
"Of course, message is as critical as media, so we had to juggle the constraints placed on us by the NFL with our creative platform," he added. "We're hopeful that this will blaze the trail for an expansion of our advertising and messaging options in the future."
Patron is not the first booze brand to break the NFL seal. Hennessy bought two 30-second ads in ESPN's preseason in-game coverage, with the spots airing during the Aug. 17 Buccaneers-Jaguars game and the Aug. 21 Giants-Browns tilt. The spot, called "Ride," was not specifically tailored for NFL games. The ad by Droga5 debuted way back in 2014. This summer it has aired on mostly sports-related programming throughout the summer, according to iSpot. The ad shows the rapper Nas walking through subway cars.