Miller and A-B are at it again, but this time A-B isn't biting, at least not the way they expected. Just three days after Miller Lite began airing ads mocking Budweiser with the intention to push Anheuser-Busch into another beer war, A-B responds with a charitable donation.
Miller last weekend began airing "Dalmation," a fairly transparent spoof of an A-B Super Bowl ad. In Miller's new ad a dog leaps from a familiar red A-B Clydesdale hitch into a Miller Lite truck, to the soundtrack of "Unchain My Heart." The ad began airing during Saturday's college football games and was created by Miller Lite's new agency, BBH, New York.
Click on the image below to see Dalmation:
Budweiser responded with a full-page ad on the back of USA Today's sports section today, with a large-type heading: "Keep up the bad work, Miller Beer. It's getting a lot of good things done." The text: "Apparently, Miller Beer believes they have to say negative things about our brands to sell their beer. At Budweiser, we're positive there's a better way of doing things. In fact, we're committed to creating something positive out of their recent negative advertising. Their latest attack? Our wagon-riding dalmation. Our response? A donation to a number of animal rescue groups across America. For over 130 years, Budweiser has believed in doing things right. We're not going to stop now." The foot of the page features a cuddly puppy, the Budweiser logo and a tagline: "Doing things the right way."
The quick response to Miller's mocking comes after Anheuser Busch execs had sworn they wouldn't again be provoked into another piss contest with Miller. In 2004 and 2005 Miller Lite and Bud Light heatedly poked at each other with comparative ads. You can see some, and the drama, in the stories below:
May 2004 - Catfight between Miller and AB
September 2004 - Bud, Miller at it again
September 2004 - Taste and Flavor vs. Freshness
December 2004 - Battle of the Brews
November 2005 - Round 74590 in the battle between Miller Lite and Bud Light
That fight seemed to benefit Miller, which gained market share in both years and didn't lose momentum until A-B slashed its long-held price premium in early 2005. A-B executives subsequently said they'd learned their lesson when it came to punching down and vowed not to do it again.
A Miller spokesman vowed to continue to pester A-B. "We are going to continue to have fun in pointing out that Miller Lite has more taste and half the carbs of Bud Light. We know we have a better beer and we are going to keep telling people about it."