Miller Renews Fight With Bud Light

CHICAGO Miller Brewing will relaunch its direct assaults on Anheuser-Busch this weekend with TV spots from Ogilvy & Mather that show Bud Light drinkers finding Miller Lite has more taste, according to the brewer.

Two spots from the WPP Group shop in New York will run during ABC telecasts of the National Basketball Association finals and ESPN’s SportsCenter, Miller said.

“Bud Light is a massive brand that is becoming increasingly vulnerable to consumer reconsideration, and we’ll continue to make the comparative argument for Miller Lite completely explicit,” said Charlie Frenette, interim chief marketing officer at Miller, in a statement.

In promoting a taste strategy for its brands, primarily Miller Lite, Miller last year began making direct challenges to A-B, including a taste test that had drinkers agreeing Miller products had “more flavor” or “more taste.” Other spots had Bud Light drinkers outside A-B headquarters, announcing through a megaphone that they had switched to Miller.

A-B late last year filed protests with TV networks over several Miller spots that the St. Louis brewery claimed were based on improperly conducted taste tests. Several of the Miller spots were pulled by the networks, which allowed other Miller commercials in the series to continue on the air.

The spots in question last year were from Miller roster shops Ogilvy and Interpublic Group’s The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va.

n a statement, A-B’s vp of sales and Marketing Mike Owens criticized Miller’s tactics.

“It’s unfortunate that SABMiller must resort back to negative attack advertising, which shows their brands can’t attract consumers on their own merit,” Owens said. “As we enter the summer when beer occasions are at their peak, all brewers should be building the business and reminding adult consumers of the enjoyment beer brings, not resorting to attacks.”

Miller last year spent an estimated $240 million on measured media, $165 million of that on Miller Lite, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.