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Now Pitching For Coors Light: Pedro Martinez

By Barry Janoff, Executive Editor

March 15, 2011: Having lost its NFL official beer sponsor status after the 2010 season, Coors Light is transitioning its five-plus-year-old "Coaches" campaign from featuring faux press conferences with former NFL coaches to using players and coaches from other sports.

In what might become the second most memorable press conference of his career, former MLB pitcher Pedro Martinez stars in the first spot of the new campaign. As per the "Coaches" formula, he is seen at a podium answering questions during what appears to be a real press conference from his playing days. However, interspersed with that are shots from the brand's quartet of fake reporters/beer meisters, who pepper Martinez with questions about Coors Light.

In the 30-second spot, Martinez, whose career spanned from 1992-2009, is standing at a microphone and wearing a baseball cap and warm-up jacket that bear the logo of the Coors Light Rocky Mountains. "How about a Coors Light?" asks one of the Coors Light guys. "I hope I can reach back and pull one out." Martinez answers to some other real question. "You want one?" the Coors Light guy responds, holding up a can. "I'll pull one out for you." To which Martinez replies, "Muchas gracias."

After a voiceover plug for the beer, a second Coors Light guy asks, "Pedro, how come you never come over to our place for a Coors Light?" To which Martinez responds, "There's no space." To which the Coors Light guy offers, "There's plenty of space." "There's nothing to do," responds Martinez. "Actually, that's pretty true," concedes a third Coors Light guy.

Lead agency is DraftFCB, Chicago. The spot will run during sports programming on network and cable.

Despite his illustrious career, which included eight All-Star Game appearances, three Cy Young awards and a World Series championship with the 2004 Boston Red Sox, Martinez is also remembered for a 2004 press conference. After an intense late-season loss to the New York Yankees, he remarked about the Yankees, "They beat me. They're that good right now. They're that hot. I just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy." Yankees' fans subsequently chanted, "Who's your daddy?" whenever Martinez returned to pitch at Yankee Stadium, including the 2009 World Series as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Fans and others will also recall a brawl between the Red Sox and Yankees in 2003 when 72-year-old Yankees' bench coach Don Zimmer ran toward Martinez and was thrown to the ground by the pitcher. Martinez also pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal Expos and New York Mets, finishing with a record of 219-100.

In 2010, Anheuser-Busch signed a deal for its Bud Light brand to replace Coors Light as the NFL's official beer sponsor beginning with the 2011 season. Coors had been an NFL sponsor since 2002. Anheuser-Busch was an NFL sponsor from 1988-2001, although it shared the category during part of that time with Miller Brewing.

Coaches and players who appear in beer commercials cannot be on active rosters, so "Coaches" has been populated by such ex-NFL coaches as Dennis Green, Jim Mora, Mike Ditka, Bill Parcells, Bill Walsh, Herm Edwards, Brian Billick and Dick Vermeil.

"I hope I can reach back and pull one out." Martinez answers to some other real question. "You want one?" the Coors Light guy says. "I'll pull one out for you."

Coors Light parent company MillerCoors in February signed a seven-year deal with the NHL to become a corporate sponsor, effective July 1, so the morphing campaign could potentially include retired NHL coaches and players. Coors Light also has an alliance with Nascar and close ties with MLB, including naming rights at Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies. Those venues are filled with retired coaches, players and drivers aching for stardom.

The Coors family of brands in Golden, Colo., marketed by MillerCoors, a joint venture between SABMiller and the Molson Coors Brewing Co.

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