ANHEUSER-BUSCH SEEKS TO KILL MILLER TV CAMPAIGN

10 of 32 Cable Networks Put Ads on Hold

By Published on .

CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Anheuser-Busch is asking cable networks to not run a rival’s ads claiming Bud Light has changed, according to Miller Brewing Co.

Ten networks -- about one-third of the 32 networks on the schedule -- are putting the ads on hold pending substantiation of Miller’s claim, said a Miller spokesman.

Related Stories:
FOX BARS MILLER BEER SUPER BOWL ADS
Pre-Game Spots Attacked Anheuser-Busch Product
BUDWEISER CONTINUES ADVERTISING CATFIGHT WITH MILLER
Anheuser-Busch Runs Ads Mocking Rival's Latest Commercials
NEW COORS AD MOCKS RIVALS' ADVERTISING CLASH
Colorado Brewer Boasts 'Less Talk, More Beer'
MILLER FIRES LATEST VOLLEY IN BEER BATTLE
New Ogilvy Ads Tout Taste-Test Victory Over Bud
MILLER DROPS PART OF LAWSUIT AGAINST ANHEUSER-BUSCH
Battle Over 'Queen of Carbs' Claim Won't Be Fought Out in Court
FEDERAL JUDGE ORDERS BUDWEISER ADS WITHDRAWN
Miller-Budweiser Court Clash to Continue
MILLER BREWING SUES ANHEUSER-BUSCH OVER ADS
Alleges 'False, Unfair and Illegal' Marketing Tactics
BUDWEISER LAUNCHES MAJOR AD OFFENSIVE AGAINST MILLER
Beer War Pits 'King of Beers' Against 'Queen of Carbs'

"We addressed this directly in a way that was most appropriate," Douglas J. Muhleman, group VP-brewing operations, said in a prepared statement. "We saw negative advertising that included our product, and we were in the best position to explain that to the networks that these claims are not true. It is up to the networks to decide what they air."

Crispin Porter ads
The Miller ads in question, from MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami, use humorous courtroom settings to push Miller’s ongoing claim that Miller Lite has more taste than Bud Light. The ads, one of which features Flavor Flav of Public Enemy, describe Bud Light as having “changed.”

The ads don’t elaborate on what’s different. But Miller claims it has detected changes in bitterness and carbonation.

A-B has had success in blocking Miller ads before. Before the most recent Super Bowl, Fox Broadcasting Co. balked at running Miller ads during the pregame show that ridiculed Budweiser Select. A-B unveiled its first spot for Bud Select during the big game.

Media listens to big spender
When A-B talks, networks have to listen. The No. 1 U.S. brewer poured about $400 million into different TV outlets last year, according to Advertising Age’s 100 Leading National Advertisers. It spent $47.5 million on cable. Miller spent about $221 million on TV. Of that, $63.1 million was on cable.

A-B has come out swinging in this latest brawl between the two brewers.

In an earlier release, Mr. Muhleman said: “Like all brewers, our brewmasters are constantly making small adjustments in the brewing process to account for seasonal changes in raw materials in order to ensure that the taste of our beers are consistent year in and year out. To suggest that we have made a formulation change in the way we brew our beers is a marketing ploy and is simply false.”

The release added: “We too analyze our competitors’ beers and note changes in their products all the time.”

Memo to wholesalers
August Busch IV, president of the U.S. brewery, also decried Miller’s tactics in a memo to wholesalers. Noting the brewer has been losing share in supermarkets amid a pricing war, he said A-B is "seeing the signs of a desperate competitor.”

Miller “has been reckless in their communications and their actions are detrimental to the industry,” Mr. Busch said. “We will consider additional, tightly targeted communications pointing out facts about their brewing, if the situation warrants.”

In this article:
Most Popular