Here at Adland we've recently mentioned that Bud and Miller are at it again and before that took a look at the Catfight between Miller and AB. It seems in recent years that the Beer War between these two have really picked up steam.
"We realize to compete in an industry controlled by this dominant market leader we had to think and behave as what we call here an enabled challenger," said Victor Rutstein, director of Miller Trademark Brand Development. "That mentality is applied to everything we do including how we deliver the message of choice and taste to every piece of the marketing mix. It also means we have to look for opportunities to zig when they are zagging." "There's no better way to generate reconsideration than through experiential programming like the Miller Taste Challenge," said Rutstein.
A-B already is moving forward with its Fresh initiative. During a recent Las Vegas conference with distributors Bob Lachky, vp-brand management and director of global brand creative, told wholesalers that TV advertising for the effort, which wasn't shown because it was still in development, is the best he seen from his agency roster. Marketing also will shine a spotlight on the born on dates stamped on A-B products.
"In our opinion if we're winning on taste, that seems to be what matters the most," said Rutstein. "We're pretty confident in the substance and character of our beer. Let the consumer make the choice."
Do read more to see the choice ads from Miller and Bud.
MGD- Taste Test campaign
Miller Lite- Taste Challenge- Chicago :30
But what is that choice? As an article in the food section of the Sun Sentinel points out:
One of the joys of discovering microbrews and imports is the broad range of flavors they offer, even within the same style. Beer drinkers used to mild-tasting mass-produced brands are missing more complex brews. It is like drinking only jug wines instead of trying more challenging bottles. Mass-produced beers, such as Miller and Budweiser, are made to appeal to the broadest market, which means the flavors are masked as much as possible. Less flavor means there is less that could surprise, or turn off, people. But the specialized beers embrace, instead of hide, those flavors.
Adgrunt Clayton mentions, "The thing that has bugged me on the whole relying on "Miller has more flavor!" thing is the fine print in the spots - "Results reflect which beer has more flavor, not preference or smoothness." Sooo... More flavor?
A skunk has more smell than a cat, but does it make the skunk smell better? No. A moldy piece of bread has more flavor than a fresh piece of Wonder Bread, but does it make the moldy bread better? No.
Also, in their MGD taste test spots, they also make them compare the color- "Which beer has more color?" Uhhhhh.... hoo-boy. Unless you've dropped acid, you don't taste color - there's great pale ales as well as great pitch-black stouts."
On the Miller site they mention that "A great pilsner should be golden and rich in color. A great light beer should smell clean with light tones of hops and malt; not beer odors. The flavorful, crsip taste should excite your senses, not bore them and never taste watered down."
So should a campaign surrounded by the premises of flavor, taste, and color really be something that a lower-quality beermaker should be focusing on? Hence Budweiser and Bud Light's new initative for freshness. Granted even freshness is something that is overused in advertising today. But at least it's something that they can grab hold of. They can compare it to their US competitors as well as imports. Although in their most recent campaigns, they aren't throwing stones at Miller or Miller Lite, as they had in their prior campaign. That's not stopping Miller and Miller Lite from continuing the Bud bashing in their campaigns.
On the Budweiser site they answer the question about why you want fresh beer.
"Why does fresh beer taste better, and why is freshness so important?
Beer is a food product, so the fresher the better. Oxygen, heat and time are the primary contributors to decreased freshness in beer. From the beginning stages of the Anheuser-Busch brewing proceess, our ingredients are held to very tight standards to ensure freshness. Budweiser, the world's best-selling beer, and all Anheuser-Busch beers are at the peek of their freshness and taste within 110 days of when they are packaged. Consumers should always store beer in a cool, dark location.
How do you tell what fresh beer tastes like?
Fresh Budweiser is crisp, clean and refreshing. Aged or punished beer can taste stale with a cardboard or papery taste. All beer that goes out the door at Anheuser- Busch is brewmaster tasted and approved. Anheuser-Busch regularly brings in beer from wholesalers and retailers at various ages and tastes it to ensure the beer has fresh character. Our research indicated that two out of three beer drinkers believe fresh beer means better bear.
Budweiser is up front and honest about freshness through our Born On date. We just think comsumers deserve to know how fresh their beer is.
Bud Light- "It's all here" campaign
Bud Light- Window Cleaner :30
Miller and Miller Lite's Make the Call campaign
MGD- Miller Genuine Draft- Ref- Make the Call Unibrow :30 (aka Roughing the Plate)
All in all these ads are just one more round in an ongoing beer war, that we most likely will not see an end to anytime soon.