Anheuser-Busch Runs Ads Mocking Rival's Latest Commercials

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- After boasting it would take the high road, the King of Beers is getting back into the beer brawl with Miller Brewing Co.

On tonight's broadcast of ABC's Monday

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Night Football, No. 1 brewer Anheuser-Busch will run ads mocking Miller's recent referee spots, in which refs "flag" drinkers for hoisting Budweiser or Bud Light (penalties include "roughing the palate"). They then replace them with Miller beers.

Craving Bud Light
The new Anheuser-Busch ads show that the referees, in fact, crave Bud Light. In one, drinkers resist their efforts to take their Bud Lights; the refs then make off with as many as they can.

Another spot continues the story by showing police officers stopping the refs for taking other people's beer.

After running spots making fun of Miller's "President of Beers" campaign and undercutting Miller Lite's low-carb positioning earlier this year, the brewer said it was done responding to Miller's jabs. Miller had made inroads against Bud Light with ads touting Miller Lite's lower carb count; Anheuser-Busch responded to "level the playing field."

A different iteration
Dan McHugh, senior director for Bud Light's marketing, contends this latest round is different. While the previous shots departed from Anheuser-Busch's strategy, the latest ones fit within the long-running theme of showing people going to great lengths to get Bud Light.

The ads are "telling the rest of the [refs'] story," he said.

Independent ad agency Cannonball, St. Louis, created the effort.

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