Anheuser-Busch Protests Another Rival’s Spots

CHICAGO Coors Brewing has agreed to pull several TV spots for Aspen Edge following complaints from Anheuser-Busch that the commercials make unsupported claims about consumer taste preferences, a Coors representative said.

The protest over Coors’ advertising is the second A-B has filed recently against its competitors, having earlier this month convinced three TV networks to pull several of Miller Brewing’s commercials.

“Competition is the lifeblood of American business, but companies like Coors and SABMiller are now on notice that we will fight for truth in advertising,” said Michael J. Owens, vice president of sales and marketing for A-B, in a statement.

The Coors’ spots in questions, from Interpublic Group’s Deutsch in Los Angeles, purport to show a taste test between Aspen Edge, the brewer’s low-carb entry, and A-B’s Michelob Ultra. The glass of Aspen Edge is guzzled, while only a sip of Michelob Ultra is taken by the unseen taste-tester.

A-B said it notified Coors on Nov. 12 that it thought the work made unsubstantiated claims about brand preference and filed a protest to CBS shortly thereafter.

While Coors agreed to pull the spots before CBS could take any action, a representative said that “all claims in our advertising are substantiated.” However, “we don’t want to end up in a pointless and distracting debate over ads that have already served their purpose,” said Kabira Hatland of the Golden, Colo.-brewery.

Earlier this month, several Miller Brewing TV spots created by WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather in New York were pulled by the networks because of A-B’s complaints that they made incorrect inferences about brand preferences.