Does Coors Light really come in "the world's most refreshing can?" And does the brew's packaging actually produce a "smoother, more refreshing pour?"
Anheuser-Busch InBev says these and other ad claims by its competitor are not true, and has asked regulators to intercede. In a complaint first filed with the National Advertising Division, the brewer took issue with "the implied claim that Coors Light Beer cans are technologically superior to other beer cans, and provide a more refreshing beverage experience," according to the NAD.
Calling the complaint frivolous, MillerCoors declined to participate in the self-regulatory review, meaning the NAD has now forwarded the ad claims to the Federal Trade Commission for consideration, NAD said in a statement Tuesday. The challenge is an "inappropriate use of NAD's resources," MillerCoors spokesman Jonathan Stern said in an email to Ad Age. "All of the statements regarding the can either clearly are intended as acceptable marketing puffery or have been proven through extensive testing as accurate."
Additionally, MillerCoors told the NAD that the "world's most refreshing can" TV, radio and digital ads will be permanently discontinued by the end of September, according to the NAD. An Anheuser-Busch InBev spokeswoman said in an email that the brewer "believes in the self-regulatory process and we are pleased that the NAD is escalating our claim."
The proceedings highlight how beer packaging, which was once an afterthought, has emerged as a major marketing tool for both brewers as they seek momentum in the sluggish light beer segment. Coors Light has been particularly active. For example, the brand pioneered the use of special ink on bottles and cans turns a special color when the beer is sufficiently cold. Among the claims challenged by A-B InBev is the slogan that "when the mountains turn blue, it's as cold as the Rockies."
Coors Light debuted the "world's most refreshing can" in May, describing it as a "double vented wide mouth can" that the brewer says produces a smoother pour.
A-B InBev has begun marketing its own Bud Light "vented can," which it described in a recent statement as "featuring a first-of-its-kind self-contained venting tab that delivers the world's smoothest drinking experience in a can."
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