Gridiron titan Tom “The Iceman” Flores, who joined the National Football League’s ranks as its first Latino quarterback in the 1960s and later secured two Super Bowl victories as a head coach, is up for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And as of today, his candidacy is getting a boost from an unlikely ally: Coors Light.
The Molson Coors-owned brand is wading into the selection process with a new 30-second TV commercial, cut in both English- and Spanish-language versions, starring Flores that questions why the football great has been snubbed by the Hall for so long. To complement the spot, Coors Light will also launch a microsite where fans can petition for the 83-year-old Flores’ induction and sign up for free beer to celebrate his legacy.
The Hall of Fame advocacy campaign, which Coors Light believes is a first for any brand, was the brainchild of creative shop Alma; PR strategy is being handled by ICF Next.
Flores’ career is a storied one: after signing as the Oakland Raiders’ starting QB in 1960, he played for nearly a decade with a trio of teams that includes the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs. Later, he’d go on to coach his beloved Raiders—who relocated to Los Angeles under his watch—to two Super Bowl victories in 1981 and ‘84. He was the second Hispanic head coach in NFL history and the first to ever win a Super Bowl.
“The Iceman” also has the distinction of being one of only two men to win Super Bowl rings as a player, an assistant coach and a head coach (the other, “Iron Mike” Ditka, was enshrined in the Hall more than 30 years ago).
“With very few Latino players in the Hall, we believe ‘The Iceman’ deserves to be recognized for being an outstanding player and coach who broke barriers for other Latino athletes. We hope this platform helps Flores inspire even more people than he already has,” says Marcelo Pascoa, the beer brand’s global VP of marketing.
Leading up to the Class of 2021 induction ceremony, Flores’ likeness will also grace limited-edition cans of Coors Light that are available only in Las Vegas, which has been “Raider Nation” home turf since the team relocated there from California last year.
However, Coors Light’s new gambit isn’t the first time the NFL legend and beer have intertwined.
Flores, who coincidentally worked as a beer distributor after his coaching days ended, was honored by the Fresno, Calif.-based Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company last year with his own “Tom Flores Lime Lager” craft brew.
It remains to be seen whether Coors Light’s endorsement will boost Flores’ odds of entering the Hall of Fame. The Hall’s Class of 2021, which will be chosen from 18 finalists including Flores, is set to be nominated by a selection committee next month followed by a formal enshrinement ceremony scheduled for August.