CHICAGO (CBS) — Beer giant MillerCoors is suing rival brewer Anheuser-Busch over what the makers of Miller Lite claim is a “false and misleading advertising campaign” that began during this year’s Super Bowl.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Wisconsin, claims Bud Light’s latest “Dilly Dilly” ad campaign featuring a mythical king deceives beer drinkers into believing Miller Lite contains high-fructose corn syrup, by stating Bud Light is made without corn syrup, unlike Miller Lite and Coors Light.
However, the lawsuit states corn syrup is used only as a fermentation aid, and is no longer present in the finished product.
“The yeast breaks down and consumes the corn syrup during the fermentation process, and thus, no corn syrup appears in the finished Miller Lite and Coors Light beer products,” the lawsuit stated.
Chicago-based MillerCoors also claims its rival conducted extensive focus group testing before creating its ad campaign and knew consumers don’t understand the difference between ordinary corn syrup used in fermenting many beers and high-fructose corn syrup used as a sweetener, which many consumers prefer not to ingest.
“Thus, AB plotted an extensive and pervasive advertising scheme designed to frighten consumers into switching away from Miller Lite and Coors Light to Bud Light. And, likely because its focus group studies demonstrated it would work, AB invested an enormous amount of money—over $13 million in media time to
convey the message to nearly 100 million consumers during Super Bowl LIII alone—to perpetuate the consumer confusion,” the lawsuit alleged.
MillerCoors wants a judge to order Anheuser-Busch to stop the ads, and award MillerCoors unspecified damages.
Anheuser-Busch said it stands by its campaign and won’t change it.