Update 3/22: MillerCoors filed a lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch saying the company’s Super Bowl ads misled customers.
The revived beer wars continue. MillerCoors clapped back against Bud Light’s public insults with a series of NCAA Tournament ads—claiming that “in the real world,” consumers prefer more taste. The spots are made to appear as though the cast and crew of Bud Light commercials drink Miller Lite in between shoots.
Two new Miller Lite commercials aired during Tuesday’s NCAA Tournament that compare Bud Light’s “Dilly Dilly” fantasy world with real-life consumer behavior.
The first spot, “Aftermath,” depicts a burning field filled with bodies including a blue knight, peasants and a cart of Bud Light beer. The scene is reminiscent of Bud Light’s Super Bowl LIII ad in which a dragon from Game of Thrones puts a fiery end to a jousting match. A director yells “Cut,” at which point the actors retreat to a hospitality tent to drink Miller Lite.
“In the real world,” the ad says, ”more taste is what matters.”
Another spot called “Snow” takes place on the set of “Ye Olde Bud Light Fantasy Land,” where a snow machine malfunctions, forcing the director to push her shoot until the next day. Once again, cast and crew rest and drink Miller Lite beer.
Bud Light already responded to the NCAA ads with a message that stands by previous jabs, challenging MillerCoors to add an ingredient label to its packaging.
The finale to the NCAA basketball season, i.e. March Madness, is traditionally MillerCoor’s largest advertising push. This year, the company is using the platform to fire back at AB InBev from multiple sides.
On March 23, select bars will be fitted with a smart Coors Light tap handle that monitors social and broadcast media for Bud Lite insults. When the tap detects this activity, it lights up, signaling a free round of Coors Light to all bar patrons of legal drinking age.
Like many online rivalries, both brands stand to benefit from the exposure. Miller Lite’s tweet about “Aftermath” has garnered 200 likes and 3,400 views on YouTube. Bud Light’s retort, however, gained 194 likes on Twitter but 26,000 views on YouTube. Bud Light even retweeted the Miller Lite ads, saying, “in case you missed it.”
The rivalry between MillerCoors and AB InBev has always been fierce, but this year it has gone even further with a debate over ingredients.
During Super Bowl LIII, AB InBev aired a “Dilly Dilly” commercial in which a barrel of corn syrup gets misdelivered, so the King and his subjects go on a quest to bring it to the rightful owner—Coors Light. On the way, however, they stop at the “Miller Light” kingdom, which also uses corn syrup during the brewing process.
The ads raised concerns by America’s corn farmers, not to mention MillerCoors itself. The brewer claims that corn syrup is an effective simple sugar that gets consumed by the yeast, converting it into alcohol and carbon dioxide. In fact, some of AB InBev’s other products use corn syrup in the same manner, MillerCoors asserts, a fact that an AB InBev representative confirmed with AList.
MillerCoors repeatedly points to data from Nielsen that suggests Bud Light’s stocks have dropped since the Super Bowl, while its own have flourished.