There hasn’t been this much controversy over corn syrup since the great Sweetums dustup in season two of Parks and Recreation. Related to beer, it wasn’t widely known that corn syrup is one of the ingredients that Bud Light called out as being used by their competitors. With that in mind, the brand lobbed the first salvo (a Super Bowl ad calling out Miller Lite and Coors Light) in what has become a contentious back-and-forth.
Shortly after the Bud Light Super Bowl ad aired, Miller Lite fired back with a full-page ad in the New York Times, pointing out the difference between “corn syrup” and “high-fructose corn syrup.” Then, Coors Light jumped into the fray a couple of weeks later, toasting the corn farmers that grow the ingredient.
But, Bud Light kept the “no corn syrup” party going. Then, MillerCoors sued AB InBev over the campaign. In May, a Wisconsin judge (the state where Miller Brewing was founded) ordered Bud Light (original hometown: St. Louis) to stop using “corn syrup” in ads attacking any other brand. Last week, a federal judge ruled that Bud Light can no longer use the corn syrup claim in packaging.
Of course, AB InBev is appealing.
Court case be damned, Bud Light is at it again, although with a more subtle approach in a pair of 15-second ads (below) kicking off NFL season that ever-so-briefly mentions the fact that they don’t brew using corn syrup. These ads don’t light up the screen from a creative sense (though the Bud Knight from the campaign remains a constant), but it’s clear that Bud Light is making its point pretty obvious.
“MillerCoors’s position defies logic—it has publicly acknowledged that Miller Lite and Coors Light are both brewed with corn syrup,” said an Anheuser-Busch spokesperson. “We publicly acknowledge that Bud Light is brewed with no corn syrup. These are simply the facts on which everyone agrees. Not only are we appealing this decision, we will continue providing consumers with the transparency they demand, including by informing beer drinkers that Bud Light is brewed with no corn syrup.”
So there you have it. Looks like the battle is far from over.