Yes, folks, they are at it again. Tuesday Miller issued a press release after Anheuser-Busch contacted several cable television networks to request that they cease running new Miller ads pointing out that, despite a change in Bud Light, Miller Lite still has more taste.
Some cable networks did in fact pull the ads until Miller can verify the claims (10 out of about 32).
The Miller ads in question,were created by Crispin Porter & Bogusky, and 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."
According to an Adage.com article, Miller is submitting to the four major networks a revised version, which drops the references to a "changed" Bud Light, even after this quote was put out in the Miller press release:
"We believe our taste claim is a significant advantage for Miller Lite and we will be very proactive in protecting our claim," Horton said.
"We didn't expect them to acknowledge that the change was in response to the success of Miller Lite," said Nehl Horton, Miller's Senior Vice President of Communications and Government Affairs. "But we are surprised that they would maintain that no changes have occurred at all, given the broad and well-recognized trend in American light lagers over the past 15 years."
Miller said its ads were designed to pre-empt any gradual change to Bud Light that might ultimately enable Anheuser-Busch to successfully refute the Miller claim.
August Busch IV, president of the AB brewery, sent out 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."
And so on and on it goes. Will it ever stop? One can only hope.
Here's some more history of this brew battle:
Battle of the Brews (Dec 23 04)
Taste and Flavor vs. Freshness (Sept 28 04)
Bud, Miller are at it again (Sept 21 04)
Catfight between Miller and AB (May 29 04)