The Bud Light Super Bowl Ad ‘Corntroversy’ Continues

It’s been three weeks since Bud Light’s  ‘corntroversial’ Super Bowl commercial first aired leaving Anheuser-Busch still giving mixed messages as to its purpose and MillerCoors digging in.

Talk about “Burning Down The House”…

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

In the Super Bowl spot, the kingdom of Bud Light mistakenly receives a gigantic barrel of corn syrup that wasn’t intended for them. And because Bud Light doesn’t use corn syrup in its beer, the kingdom’s subjects embark on a brutal journey to deliver the barrel to the kingdoms of Miller Lite and Coors Light – because they evidently do.

The spot’s corn syrup accusations, though not denied, drew a quick rebuttal from MillerCoors as well as from the National Corn Growers Association.

And in an effort to counter the almost immediate backlash Anheuser-Busch executives explained that the ads really were about  transparency and not about shaming its biggest competitor for using a lesser ingredient in its beer…

Andy Goeler, the Vice President of Marketing for Bud Light, told Adweek that the commercial intended to “create attention and conversation around ingredients in beers” adding that “some of the other beers in the industry that don’t provide transparency are made with things like corn syrup.”

Okay, so Bud Light‘s Super Bowl spot wasn’t about shaming MillerCoors for its use of corn syrup in Miller Lite and Coors Light?  It was an argument for greater transparency?

We’re pretty sure nobody’s buying that…

Peter Frost argued in MillerCoors’ Behind the Beer that lots of brewers use a “corn-derived sugar or corn syrup called dextrose” in certain beers, and that there’s a place for that…

“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 in a later post Frost also noted that since the Bud Light ad debuted Anheuser-Busch admitted to Beer Marketer Insights that it “does use (corn syrup) in certain value brands, which are driven by price.”

In the most recent attempt to save face, Marcel Marcondes, the Chief Marketing Officer at Anheuser-Busch US took to LinkedIn to trumpet that “Bud Light recently became the first beer in the US to put an ingredients label on its packaging,” and double-down on the argument that the ad was designed as an argument for transparency…

And in a not-so-subtle turn Marcondes also implied that MillerCoors had started the latest skirmish…

“The brand provoked a national conversation with its Super Bowl ads, by highlighting the ingredients that do, and do not, go into the beer. Yes, we also decided to finally join a conversation with our competitors that they began years ago.”

So was the pricy Super Bowl ad that left consumers underwhelmed and ignited an Anheuser-Busch/MillerCoors range war worth it?

We think that Bud Light would take a “do-over” if they could…but they can’t.

And MillerCoors, like McDonalds, is just “lovin’ it.”

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