New Bud Light Deal Means Active NFL Players Can Be Used To Shill For Beer

Bud Light has been an official beer-like drink of the National Football League for a few seasons now, and ads for Bud Light have long featured retired athletes, but the league had barred the use of any active players in beer commercials. That’s about to change thanks to a multi-year deal between the NFL and the popular beverage brand.

AdAge reports that the new agreement will allow Bud Light to feature actual in-game footage of real NFL games in its TV commercials. That’s a change of pace from either trotting out former players, or showing beer-loving fans cheering on from fake stadium stands, pre-gaming in generic parking lots, or watching a game at home.

But there is a catch. Don’t expect — at least not yet — to see Tom Brady telling you about the cold, refreshing blah blah of AB InBev’s low-cal beer-water product. As AdAge explains, the use of game footage has to be done so that individual players aren’t identified.

We have to wonder if that’s a concession to watchdogs who would be concerned about the use of famous, active athletes to sell kids a product they are already snatching from their parents’ garage refrigerator — or if it’s a way to prevent NFL players’ agents from demanding more cash for using their clients’ likenesses in ads that traditionally pay celebrities very well.

We’re just saying that if we were Peyton Manning’s agent — who has no doubt negotiated huge-dollar deals to have his client shill for Nationwide and others — and we saw his face being use to sell Bud Light, we’d be ticked.

Not just because Peyton isn’t seeing yet another truckload of cash back up to the underground Scrooge McDuck vault we assume he has constructed underneath his estate, but because associating Manning’s face with Bud Light might make it more difficult to secure him a sponsorship deal with a competing beer when he does retire.

But back to the league’s rationale for this deal.

“We are trying to help them sell beer,” explains the NFL’s Sr. VP in Charge of Shameless Cash Grabs (okay, we made up the title, but the quote is real). “And the way they can do that is to leverage the NFL to the most avid fans in sports.”

Speaking of shameless cash grabs, the AdAge story also explains why Bud Light’s new lineup of NFL team-branded cans doesn’t include all 32 teams. That’s because the use of those logos on the cans has to be negotiated with each individual team, and MillerCoors still holds exclusive deals with the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys.

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