Regulators Raise Objections to Miller Lite Ad Campaign

Molson Coors is appealing the decision

Molson Coors
A Molson Coors ad drew the wrong kind of attention.
Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Some advertisers prefer to tout the best qualities of their own products. Others, though, would much prefer to relentlessly mock their competitors. It’s a conflict as old as time and/or the business of advertising. But it turns out there’s a limit to how far companies can go when making claims about their competitors’ products — and one light beer producer just crossed it.

At issue, VinePair reports, is a commercial for Miller Lite that features the tagline “light beer shouldn’t taste like water.” The ad features a cyclist making his way uphill; when he stops to hydrate, he does so via opening a can labeled “Extremely Light Beer” and pouring it all over his head.

It turns out that that commercial drew the ire of Anheuser-Busch, which filed a complaint with BBB National Programs. The organization in question, a nonprofit that describes itself as “[overseeing] more than a dozen national industry self-regulation programs.” BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division recommended that Molson Coors should stop using the tag line. Why? As per a statement by the organization, tasting “like water” is a quantifiable attribute, and one which Molson Coors did not adequately prove in its ad.

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For their part, Molson Coors plan to appeal the ruling to the National Advertising Review Board. Their argument, in turn, is that the ad is fine because it doesn’t name any specific competitors of Miller Lite. Turns out battles over light beer can get pretty heavy.


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