MillerCoors Counters Bud Light’s Super Bowl Ads

One of Bud Light’s more controversial Super Bowl spots returned to last year’s popular “Dilly, Dilly” medieval kingdom on Sunday to accuse both Miller Lite and Coors Light of using corn syrup in their beers.

And MillerCoors is pushing back…

According to Peter Frost writing for MillerCoors’ Behind the Beer lots of brewers including Sierra Nevada, Russian River use a “corn-derived sugar or corn syrup called dextrose” in certain beers…

“As Anheuser-Busch pointed out in a series of low-performing television spots aired during Sunday’s football game, both Miller Lite and Coors Light use corn-derived sugars during fermentation, which aids in making them light-bodied, easy-drinking beers with reduced calories and carbohydrates. None of these sugars are in the final product.”

And Frost correctly points out that Bud Light “uses the same trick,” only they substitute fermentable rice rather than the corn derivative to create a similar effect…

So why did Anheuser-Busch use its pricey Super Bowl airtime taking dubious shots at its competitors? MillerCoors CEO Gavin Hattersley shared his own suspicions in a note to distributors after the Bud Light ads aired on Sunday…

“Bud Light is starting this fight for one simple reason. They are scared. Coors Light and Miller Lite are making inroads and Bud Light doesn’t have an answer. We’re getting under the competition’s skin, and we’re ready to take more of their market share too.”

“We’re proud of our beers, we’re proud of our ingredients, and we’re happy to have this fight any day of the week.”

Frost goes on to question “whether the series of Bud Light ads moved the needle for the brand” at all…citing advertising analysts who know this game…

Adweek  reported that Bud Light’s corn syrup ad was “one of five moments during the game that didn’t end well with the internet,” but they weren’t done…

“We’re not sure the brand knew the debate it was starting. People were confused why the brand would choose to promote that fact of all things.” 

And although Ad Age wasn’t much kinder, they were better at sarcasm…

“unfortunately … there isn’t much in the way of wit, other than the suggestion that Bud Light doesn’t use corn syrup, which no doubt has been plaguing the drinkers of Bud Light.”

Unlike a number of AB InBev’s Super Bowl spots that were released earlier in the week to generate some pregame buzz, Bud Light’s corn syrup ad was kept under wraps, so obviously the hope was to not tip its hand to the competition…

And although this Bud Light commercial did, no doubt, surprise some, it’s Frost’s position that it was neither effective nor valid.

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