Coors Light Rolls Out a Tap That Glows and Dispenses Free Beer When It Hears Bud Light Ads

The brand tries to fight negativity with generosity

When Bud Light talks smack, it's free Coors Light for everyone (kind of). MillerCoors
Headshot of Doug Zanger

The beer wars, started by Bud Light over corn syrup, reached a fever pitch shortly after the Super Bowl. It has since devolved into a high school imbroglio filled with name-calling and, quite frankly, we’re getting a little exhausted with the whole thing.

Just this week, Miller Light fired another flare into the cauldron of brand despair with an ad showing characters from Bud Light’s Dilly Dilly campaign downing their competitor’s brew during breaks—only for Bud Light to fire back with another ad that takes the whole thing down another notch. According to MillerCoors and Nielsen, the Bud Light ads may not be working as the brand’s sales are down more than 9 percent since the new campaign launched.

Sitting (somewhat) quietly on the sidelines, however, Coors Light, part of the MillerCoors kingdom, is doing something that may actually grab the attention of an ambivalent consumer base: free beer.

Starting tomorrow, Coors Light smart taps in select cities will detect when Bud Light talks negatively about the brand on social media or on broadcast. When that happens, the tap handle illuminates and, voila, it’s free beer for the bar (capped at two beers per customer). In essence, the Colorado mega-brewer is daring Bud Light to talk smack.

“When they bring hate, we will literally bring light,” said Ryan Reis, vice president Coors’ brands. “The more Bud Light talks, the more we refresh.”

The stunt/promotion, created with the help of DDB, will be in select bars in New York, Philadelphia (where Bud Light gifted the city free beer after the Eagles’ Super Bowl win last year), Dallas, Omaha and Las Vegas.

@zanger Doug Zanger is a senior editor, agencies at Adweek, focusing on creativity and agencies.