As the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers kick off the NFL season tonight, another contest is getting underway: Bud Light vs. Coors Light.
The game begins a new chapter in the light-beer wars, with Anheuser-Busch's Bud Light taking over as the official beer of the NFL in a six-year deal valued at $50 million a year. MillerCoors' Coors Light opted out of the deal after holding the rights since 2001.
MillerCoors can still run ads during games, just as A-B did when MillerCoors' Coors Light was sponsor. What the sponsorship gives A-B is the right to use the NFL shield and other logos in advertising and retail displays -- and you can be sure the brewer will take full advantage of that in a new football-themed Bud Light TV campaign by roster agency Cannonball.
Coors Light, meantime, has shelved its long-running press conference campaign featuring former coaches, but is keeping the coaches on its roster, with a new execution featuring them in miniature form interacting with fans. The ads are by longtime agency DraftFCB. Razorfish is handling digital, which includes a "pick 'em" game on Facebook.
In the ads -- which feature Herman Edwards, Jim Mora, Dennis Green and Mike Ditka -- the coaches "come in and directly interact and coach our beer drinkers to take their party or tailgate or bar experience to the next level," said Dan Hennessy, senior director for Coors brands. (Who knew drinking beer was so complicated.)
Here's a sneak peak of the first Coors Light ad debuting tonight.