Remember when you were a kid and you and a friend would pick at each other, and it all seemed in good fun until someone stormed off and complained to Mom? Welcome to the $35 billion U.S. beer industry!
A day after launching new response ads defending Miller Lite against accusations of using corn syrup by Bud Light that date back to the Super Bowl, parent company MillerCoors has filed suit against AB InBev.
MillerCoors is looking for an injunction to stop Bud Light’s campaign, which it claims is false advertising meant to deceive customers and misuses the Miller and Coors trademarks.
In a statement, a MillerCoors spokesperson said, “Anheuser-Busch is fearmongering over a common beer ingredient it uses in many of its own beers, as a fermentation aid that is not even present in the final product. This deliberate deception is bad for the entire beer category. We are showing the world the truth.”
That’s a significant change of tune compared with a month ago, when MillerCoors’ VP of communications and community Adam Collins suggested the attacks had emboldened its own employees and partners, telling PR Week, “I don’t think we would have asked for [Bud Light parent Anheuser-Busch InBev] to attack us like this, but in a lot of respects, they have done us a significant favor.”
In contrast, the suit calls the Bud Light campaign “false and misleading” and claims it has damaged the reputation of the Miller Lite and Coors Light brands. According to Ad Age, the filing also includes background on the Bud Light ads that began during the Super Bowl, including subsequent social media posts, and even details on the fermentation process.
Brace yourself for the Dilly Dilly defense.