Viewers of last night’s Patriots vs. Chiefs game that kicked off the 2017 NFL season may have noticed an oddity: a liquor commercial.
A Crown Royal spot that aired promoted hydration and moderation for game-day drinking. It also represented the first ever hard-liquor commercial that aired during a regular-season NFL game.
The reason for this precedent was the NFL changing its rules regarding hard-liquor advertising during the past offseason. Liquor brands can now run ads so long as they have a “prominent social responsibility message,” according to an NFL spokesperson, and at least 1/5 of ads that run must “consist exclusively of social responsibility messaging.”
Only four 30-second liquor ads can run during a game, with a max of two per quarter or halftime.
Beer brands do not face any of the same restrictions.
Crown Royal’s ad is part of their new “Hydrate Generously” promotion, which includes a partnership with Waterboys.org, a charitable organization within the Chris Long Foundation. To date, the organization has funded 24 water wells for East African communities. Crown Royal will help fund the organization’s 25th and 26th wells by donating $45,000 to kick off the season, and by rallying fans to help raise another $45,000 by donating one dollar for every use of #HydrateGenerously and “for every bottle distributed by the Crown Royal Water B.O.Y.S. throughout the season,” the company says.
“Pro football is America’s favorite sport, the most-viewed programming on TV and one of the top occasions for responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages,” says Sophie Kelly, SVP of North American Whiskeys at Diageo. “With so many fans paying attention, we saw an opportunity to do something that no brand has done before and take our longstanding social responsibility commitment to the masses, reminding fans to celebrate in moderation in a way that’s rooted in the energy, spirit and intensity of the game itself.”