KANSAS CITY — MillerCoors has filed a lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch InBev over what it says are false and misleading claims and misuse of Miller and Coors trademarks in a Bud Light Super Bowl commercial about MillerCoors’ use of corn syrup, according to a story first reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The 60-second commercial, and related commercials that were part of Bud Light’s ad campaign, initially aired Feb. 3 during the widely-watched Super Bowl and continue to be aired. The ad initially generated significant pro and con traffic on social media and drew the ire of corn producers and the corn sweetener industry. The lawsuit was filed March 21 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.
MillerCoors said focus groups indicated consumers don’t know the difference between corn syrup (used in the fermentation process for Miller Lite and Coors Light) and high-fructose corn syrup, which is thought of as unhealthy by some consumers. The suit claims the Bud Light ad aims to deliberately confuse and “frighten” viewers.
The suit in part seeks an injunction to order Anheuser-Busch to stop running the Bud Light ad. It also seeks a trial by jury and for the defendant to pay its legal fees. The suit also cited billboards placed by AB InBev that read, in succession, “Coors Light uses corn syrup.” “Bud Light: We Don’t” and “100 percent less corn syrup than Coors Light.”
MillerCoors noted that corn syrup is not actually in either Miller Lite or Coors Light as it is used and consumed by yeast in the fermentation process. It also noted that Anheuser-Busch uses corn syrup in making its Stella Artois and some other brands. Rice is used in the fermentation process to make Bud Light rather than corn syrup.
In a statement, Anheuser-Busch called the lawsuit “baseless,” and said it stood by its Bud Light ad campaign.