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Coors Hopes to Turn Former Football Coach's Tirade Into Ad

Brewer Negotiating to Use Footage of Podium Meltdown in Next Mock Press-Conference Spot

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- In a case of life imitating YouTube, Coors Light has tapped former Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green to appear in its mock press conference spots during the coming National Football League season -- but it's unclear if the spots will include footage of that Dennis Green press conference.
Coors hopes to use footage of former head coach Dennis Green's meltdown as its next mock press-conference ad.
Coors hopes to use footage of former head coach Dennis Green's meltdown as its next mock press-conference ad.

Mr. Green, most sports fans will recall, provided some of the most memorable postgame meltdown footage in sports history last year when, after his Cardinals bungled away a 20-0 lead to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football, he erupted into a largely unprompted, bizarre and profanity-laden rant.

"They are what we thought they were!" he screamed, repeatedly, of the Bears while pounding the podium, in response to no apparent question. "If you want to crown them, crown their asses. ... They are what we thought they were and we let 'em off the hook!" A fuming, heavy-breathing Mr. Green then stormed off the podium.

Faux Coors Light ads
And because last season Coors began running spots featuring press-conference footage of former NFL head coaches Jim Mora, Dick Vermeil, Mike Ditka and Bill Walsh that were edited to make it look like the coaches were fielding sophomoric questions from Coors Light drinkers, faux Coors Light ads featuring Mr. Green's outburst almost immediately began appearing on YouTube and other online video sites.

After Mr. Green was fired after the season, it cleared the way for Coors to cut a deal with him. (Active NFL players and coaches are forbidden from appearing in beer ads.)

But rough cuts of two early ads featuring Mr. Green's press conferences don't feature his famous outburst, but rather more innocuous quotes from tamer exchanges with the media. Why would Coors use a middling coach like Mr. Green (who posted a 16-32 record in three years at Arizona following a more successful stint in Minnesota best remembered for playoff disappointments) in a press-conference ad if it's not going to use his definitive press conference?

Pass collective muster
The problem, according to people familiar with the matter, is that Mr. Green's anger after the Monday night meltdown was so pyrotechnic that Coors and longtime agency DraftFCB are having a hard time crafting it into an ad that will pass the collective muster of Coors Chief Marketing Officer Andrew England, the NFL (which has veto power over ads as part of Coors' sponsorship agreement), and Mr. Green himself.

Efforts to make an ad out of the rant are said to be continuing.

A spokeswoman said a third spot -- intended to run later than the first two -- was still in development but, as of late today couldn't say definitely whether it would in fact feature the famed tirade.

One holdup may be Coors' reluctance to directly challenge its competitors. For instance, the "crown their asses" bit from Mr. Green could, with little imagination, be used as a dig at the self-proclaimed "King of Beers" -- Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser. But Coors in recent years has eschewed a challenger strategy and instead focused on positioning itself as the coldest, "most refreshing" light beer.

Big Tuna spots
Coors is also planning press-conference ads starring retired former Dallas Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells, a far more accomplished coach than Mr. Green also known for occasionally combative press-conference behavior. The new press conference ads begin airing Aug. 16.

"For the 2007 campaign, we selected Coach Green and Coach Parcells due to their impressive records on the field as well as some memorable press conference moments off the field," said Sara Mirelez, brand director for the Coors brand family.

Coors Light is heading into the fall with momentum, posting low-single-digit growth in the second quarter, according to earnings released Aug. 7 by parent Molson Coors Brewing Co. That performance, combined with even stronger growth by the company's U.S. bargain (Keystone Light) and craft (Blue Moon) offerings have led many observers to conclude that the No. 3 U.S. brewer bested larger rivals Miller Brewing Co. and Anheuser-Busch during the crucial summer selling season, at least to this point.

"Coors wins the summer so far," Beer Business Daily said Aug. 7 following the earnings release.
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