Despite their rep for running toward the silly and cartoonish, beer ads have rules to follow. The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Better Business Bureau said Molson Coors broke those rules with a 2022 Miller Lite campaign. According to the agency, the company must pull the ads, which include the slogan, “light beer shouldn’t taste like water; it should taste like beer.”
As CNN reports, the spot that caused competitor Anheuser Busch to raise objections was just 15 seconds long, featuring a cyclist topping a hill and pausing to take a breather. He then opened a beer that was the same shade of dark blue found on Bud Light cans and poured it over his head. The NAD stated that strongly implying the competition’s brew might as well be water was highlighting “a measurable attribute.” Customers might believe the assertion was “supported by such evidence.”
The NAD didn’t see the joke and said Molson Coors had to pull the commercial because the company submitted no “evidence supporting the claim that any other light beers ‘taste like water.'”
Molson Coors disagreed with the NAD’s decision and will appeal. The beer-making giant may have a case, too — after all, CNN notes that the NAD’s decisions aren’t legally binding, though advertisers generally go along with rulings.
Anheuser-Busch and Molson Coors are the top-selling U.S. beer makers, and the companies have clashed before. In a later dismissed case, Molson Coors sued over a 2019 Super Bowl ad claiming it used corn syrup in its brewing process.