Coors Light Pursues The Forbidden -- And The Dead

Despite being possibly the greatest quarterback in NFL history, Kansas City Chief Patrick Mahomes can also appear, off-camera, to be a delightfully pleasant and humble fellow.

Among a flood of endorsement deals in 2022, this three-time Super Bowl winner started appearing in ads for Coors Light. During these two years, the spots have had a laser-like focus on one bit: that Mahomes’s NFL contract prohibits him from endorsing alcoholic products or drinking beer on camera.

As a workaround, one of the ads had him selling the “Coors Light,” literally a flashlight in silver made to look just like the Coors Chill train, (which was renamed from the too-yuppie-retro sounding Silver Bullet Express), with part of the profits going to his 15 and the Mahomies Foundation to benefit children. 

The second spot had the QB promoting the Coors Light “Bear” instead of beer. A voiceover told us that the Bear is “zero percent adult beverage and 100 percent mammal. It’s the perfect bear to hang out with after a long day” -- in which Mahomes and the bear are shown playing golf and buddying around on a sofa, having snacks.



Both were funny. Still, I had imagined the light beermaker had already tapped the life out of that same joke about endorsement-prohibition.

But apparently, the third time is the charm.

Now, Mahomes comes not to promote Coors Light, but to bury it.  Yes, death becomes him.

In a video that broke last week, we see Mahomes, crawling along, then straddling atop a powerful locomotive speeding through the snowy Alps, like the hero of an action movie.  His hair stands up on end along with him, a colossus in giant Oakley goggles, facing the frozen tundra.

“Looks like we’ve got company!” he shouts, and that line, his acting, and the set couldn’t seem hokier.

That’s when the camera pulls back to reveal the sound stage with the fake train and snow machine, as a producer (or lawyer?) runs up to Mahomes and yells “Stop shooting! Kill the fan!”

Climbing a ladder to reach our star on his fake perch while holding a binder full of contracts, she says she can’t let him continue with the commercial. He responds, rather leadenly, “Why not? It’s really cool -- and high stakes.”

She reads from her thick papers, “It says so right here. No player shall be allowed to promote a beer while they play professional football, no matter how cool and high stakes it is.”

Then we see the director, who complains, “This was supposed to be my big break.”

A merchandiser guy, sitting there with thousands of cardboard boxes, asks, “What’s the return policy on 13,000 figurines?” We get to see a few of the bobble heads (with Mahomes’ face obscured) wearing snow shades; presumably, they will bobble no more.

Meanwhile, the guy on set with a spray bottle, apparently responsible for keeping the cans properly sweated, steps forward to save the day.

Quite solemnly, he suggests the commercial be buried “in a time capsule.” to be “unearthed someday in the future when Patrick Mahomes finally has permission to promote our beer,” aka when he retires.

Playing sarcasm dead straight is a difficult tone to achieve for more than a minute, so kudos to the team at Mischief @ No Fixed Address, for sustaining the funny.

But wait, there’s more. At the end of the spot, we get to see Mahomes, holding a spade, beginning the burial procedure.

Then Coors goes all the yards by setting up a YouTube live stream the next day for fans to watch the burial.  And some 30 minutes into watching the Coors digital logo go around, the live stream cuts to an MC named Peter, at a podium, presiding over the burial. It’s live, baby, happening on the grounds of the Coors factory and headquarters in Golden, Colorado.

In this midst of this faux funeral solemnity, the idea of burying a digital thing is odd, isn’t it?. But Peter explains, holding the Coors silver-bullet-like capsule, saying, “Inside of here is a USB drive that contains an MP4 video file containing the forbidden Mahomes commercial. She’s in there, all right.”

Then we hear from Heidi Harris, the actual archivist of the “legacy collection” at Coors, who ends by saying, “Let’s bury this, Eric.”

Eric stands with his hand over his heart as we hear a mournful violin play.

The lowering is swift and automatic, and the capsule goes under a flower bed, to be pointed out in future Coors brewery tours.

What if the commercial comes back to life as a zombie film?   Hey, by the time Mahomes retires, it might be cool and high stakes to be a member of the undead.

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