The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback has signed a deal with Miller Lite, but it’s not the one you’d think. Heinicke is now the face of the beer and he’ll be featured in commercials, billboards and even on a limited edition can.
When quarterback Taylor Heinicke of the Washington Football Team debuted at the conclusion of the 2020 season, virtually every football fan did the same thing at one time or another: he was dubbed “Taylor Heineken.” Most NFL fans know how to pronounce the quarterback’s name now that he has taken over for an ailing Ryan Fitzpatrick. Despite this, the Dutch beer behemoth that (nearly) bears his name squandered a golden marketing opportunity and lost out to a business that produces an American tailgate staple.
Taylor Heinicke was supposed to be the ideal Heineken pitchman.
Even the quarterback saw the Heineken/Taylor Heinicke marketing potential.
Heinicke finally got his chance with the Washington Football Team last season after bouncing about the NFL for a few years as an undrafted free agent out of Old Dominion (primarily in training camps and on practice teams) and spending time as a backup in the short-lived XFL revival.
Heinicke started the Wildcard Playoff game against the eventual Super Bowl winner Tampa Bay Buccaneers after playing in only two regular-season games.
Heinicke, who ran the unit against QB GOAT Tom Brady, led Washington to a historic victory. He completed 26 of 44 passes for 306 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. It was good enough to get his side within one touchdown (and a two-point conversion) of the eventual champions, 31-23.
After his outstanding playoff performance, the quarterback informed reporters that he reached out to Heineken in the hopes of working out a deal:
Last year, it was after the Tampa game. I made every effort to offer them something, and my agent informed me that I had received a 24-pack at home. I hadn’t gotten anything, and they claimed they couldn’t deliver to my home since there’s a gas station down the street that sells Heineken.
Heineken’s Taylor Heinicke
Heineken seems to have missed the boat, since the business didn’t even attempt to offer the budding NFL starter a free case of beer.
After telling ESPN reporter John Keim about the Heineken tale, the quarterback stated he “may have to start aiming for Bud Light.”
That was a foreshadowing remark.
Taylor BudLighticke is the new moniker for the quarterback.
While Heineken may not have recognized the benefit in auditioning Taylor Heinicke as a pitchman, another big brewer did. Bud Light, a long-time NFL tailgate and stadium favorite, heard Heinicke’s cries and responded.
Just days after the WFT quarterback was forced to recall his imported beer gaffe, he shared a photo of a Bud Light care box on Instagram. A cap, two 12-packs, a case of Bud Light Seltzer, and a custom-made 3-pack with “Bud Lighticke” printed on it were given to him by the business.
“With a name like Heinicke, there’s only one beer that makes sense to collaborate with…,” the signal-caller tweeted. “I’m joining @budlight and its #ForTheFans campaign (Sorry Heineken) #OfficiallySponsored #TeamBudLighticke (pronounced Bud-Light-uh-KEEEE!)
Bud Light also announced the agreement on Twitter, saying that the NFC East quarterback had been “SIGNED.”
The entire thing was a stroke of marketing brilliance from Bud Light, which shouldn’t be a surprise. The King of Beers has long recognized the NFL as America’s king of advertising and marketing.
Any NFL marketing opportunity that is squandered is a major blunder.
Taylor Heinicke | Patrick Smith/Getty Images/Taylor Heinicke
Even though Taylor Heinicke isn’t a big name among casual NFL fans, businesses value even a small marketing opportunity in the sport.
The National Football League (NFL) is more than simply America’s favorite sports league. It is one of the country’s most prominent and important businesses.
According to Reuters, the league earned $16 billion in 2019 and $12 billion in 2020, despite a pandemic. Last season, the majority of the 25 percent decrease was due to individual clubs missing out on gameday income due to a lack of or small fan base. The $9.5 billion in income generated by the league remained virtually unchanged.
The NFL is also one of the final bastions of live television watching by appointment. It’s one of the few kinds of television that people watch live while also having to endure advertisements. As a result, the league is a marketing force to be reckoned with.
It is for this reason why businesses pay such a high price for airtime during football games. According to FOX Business, brands spend upwards of $400,000 for a 30-second ad during an NFL game, particularly those that target 25-54-year-old males like beer, pizza, munchies, and some specialty medicinal items. For half a minute during the Super Bowl, the most-watched live television event in the nation, that price soars to north of $5 million.
Bud Light, perhaps the most American of beers, seems to be more aware of the NFL’s marketing potential than Heineken. With their coup of Taylor Heinicke — excuse me, Taylor BudLighticke — they won a huge victory.
A Brief History of NFL Linemen (Including Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady) Drinking Beer During Games