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Coors Light refuses to comply with advertising review

Rumble in the cold US beer advertising jungle…AB InBev v. Miller Coors

By Ben Bouckley+

14-Aug-2013
Last updated on 14-Aug-2013 at 12:44 GMT

Picture Credit: Steve Baker/Flickr
Picture Credit: Steve Baker/Flickr

Miller Coors ad claims for Coors Light beer cans are being referred to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after the brewer refused to participate in a National Advertising Division (NAD) review.

US market leader AB InBev is challenging claims made by heavyweight rival Miller Coors - the Molson Coors and SAB Miller JV is the US No.2 – that appear on Coors Light beer cans and its website, other packaging, social media sites and TV commercials.

AB InBev is feeling the heat as Coors Light ‘cold can’ adverts have boosted the brand since 2007, as the premium light overtook Budweiser in 2011 and since retained its spot as the No.2 US beer brand.

“Given the advertiser’s decision against participation in the self-regulatory process, NAD referred the advertising to the FTC for review, pursuant to the NAD/CARU procedures,” the NAD said.*

Cold comfort for AB InBev…

Claims at issue include ‘The World’s Most Refreshing Can’; ‘New Double Vented Wide Mouth’; ‘2 Stage Cold Activation & Frost Brew Liner’.

AB InBev is also unhappy with other statements including: ‘When the Mountains Turn Blue It’s As Cold as the Rockies’; ‘Smoother, More Refreshing Pour’; ‘Locks in Frost Brewed Taste’ and ‘Beer on the Inside, Science on the Outside’.

“Anheuser-Busch also challenged the implied claim that Coors Light Beer cans are technologically superior to other beer cans, and provide a more refreshing beverage experience,” the NAD said.

But Miller Coors “respectfully declined” to provide a substantive response to the challenge, the NAD said.

‘Complaint is frivolous’ – Miller Coors

“It characterized these as ‘frivolous’, defended the claims at issue as either puffery or literally truthful",the NAD added, “and noted that it expects that all of the ‘World’s Most Refreshing Can’ television and radio sport and related digital campaigns currently running to be permanently discontinued by the end of September.”

Miller Coors has discharged considerable advertising shot to make Coors Light synonymous with cold since at least 2007 when the firm launched a ‘cold-activated’ bottle; the brand debuted ‘cold-activated’ cans (where the mountains turn blue using special inks) in May 2009.

Symphony IRI data for the 52 weeks ending December 2 show that Coors Light posted sales of $2.286bn and holds a 7.84% share of the beer category.

Although Bud Light is way out in front – $5.989bn sales, 20.53% share – Budweiser takes third place with $2.175bn sales and a 7.46% category share.

*CARU or the Children’s Advertising Review Unit promotes responsible advertising to minors through through the National Advertising Review Council.

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