Coors Light may have to defend its cold can cred

An industry advertising watchdog asked the brewer to back up its claims of having 'the world's most refreshing can,' and has referred the matter to the FTC.

By Jonathan Berr Aug 15, 2013 5:08PM
Coors Light can © Coors Brewing Company

Call it a cold war: Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) wants rival brewer MillerCoors to prove the claims it makes in its Coors Light ads about how it keeps its beers cold.

To that end, the Budweiser brewer filed a complaint to the advertising industry's self-regulatory unit, challenging claims that Coors Light's new can "was somehow technologically superior to other beer cans and provides a more refreshing beverage experience."

According to AdWeek, MillerCoors --  a joint venture between Molson Coors (TAP) and SABMiller -- refused to cooperate with the probe, forcing the National Advertising Division of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council (ASRC) to take the unusual step of referring the matter to the Federal Trade Commission.

"It's particularly unusual for a major advertiser not to participate," Linda Bean, an ASRC spokeswoman, told the trade publication, adding that it happened only four times last year out of the 111 cases it considered.

The scientific lab-themed ads, some of which feature rapper Ice Cube, call the Coors Light vessel "the world's most refreshing can," with "beer on the inside, science on the outside," and claim it provides a "smoother, more refreshing pour."

Jonathan Stern, director of media relations at MillerCoors, called the complaint "frivolous and an inappropriate use of NAD's resources," saying that all the claims about the can are either "acceptable marketing puffery or have been proven through extensive testing as accurate." The NAD is an investigative unit of the ASRC run by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

Coors Light is second only to Bud Light, which has held the No. 1 spot in the segment for two decades, according to research firm Consumer Edge Insight. The two brands account for about 27% of the beer market. However, people who used to drink light beer are now buying craft beers, ciders or aren't drinking alcohol at all, says David Decker, Consumer Edge president.

"They are losing consumers and occasions to lots of different places," Decker says.

A recent Consumer Edge survey paints a particularly depressing picture of the light beer market, according to A whopping 40% of drinkers aged 21-27 have grown "tired of the taste" of premium light beers and 37% described the segment as "watery."
In response, the brewers are launching so-called "line extensions," such as Bud Light's Lime-A-Rita, to help stem the sales loss -- even though beer aficionados may take a dim view of them, Decker says.

--Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter: @jdberr.

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Aug 15, 2013 5:19PM

Refreshing, by definition, is subjective... Like taste or smell.


What a waste of federal money.  THe FTC needs extra sequestering if they have this kind of money to waste.

Aug 15, 2013 7:17PM
Funny I don't ever remember hearing frogs in the real world say budweiser maybe we should look into that at the same time in the interest of fairness.
Aug 15, 2013 5:52PM

Bud must be hurting... they have time and money for that? How stupid. They should challenge McDonalds and the photo's of those big, thick, and juicy burgers they show on TV... they don't look the same when I get one.


Big corporate BS... If they can't compete, go crying to the government. Next thing you know, Bud will need a bailout (and they are not even a US company any more)!!!! 

Aug 15, 2013 5:57PM
With all the scams out there ripping off folks, the FTC has to use its resources to play referee between two whiny companies. Ain't America great???? InBev should have to reimburse the FTC for the cost of the investigation.
Aug 15, 2013 7:38PM
AB/InBev is pure scum. They routinely try to crowd out craft beer in the market, now this, one of the most frivolous wastes of money I've ever heard of. Coors Light has surpassed Budweiser in sales, so now they're trying to beat them down with this crap. I think they're afraid they'll eventually outsell Bud Light. Pathetic! They'll try every dirty trick possible to try and maintain their position at the top. This country will be so much better off when craft beer completely overtakes this watered down crap these huge corporations are trying to pass off as "beer." It will happen eventually, mark my words!
Aug 15, 2013 6:15PM

Who cares, both companies are not American anymore, just like Chrysler, Fiat

 for short.

Aug 15, 2013 6:55PM
Coors is kicking Bud's **** in sales, and we all know that most all ads lie.  Bud just needs to get a bigger and better lie.
Aug 15, 2013 8:51PM
How many do what I do?  I drink craft brew....NOT watered beer-which is what lite beer is.  I mute all advertising and look away or go fix something in the kitchen or go to the loo.  Do this and your life will be better.   Craft brew only!!!!!!!              M
Aug 15, 2013 8:39PM
Coors had to sell a few trucks when I quit drinking beer in 1995.
Aug 15, 2013 8:55PM
I buy both Bud (Bud Light Lime and Bud Black) beer as well as Coors Light beer. I like the blue mountain temperature adviser on the can (it's at its coldest when blue). They are my go-to staples when I'm not in the mood for a heavy - and expensive - craft beer like seasonal brews from Sam Adams or a local microbrewery.

With that said, just because AB wet themselves over what Coors Light is doing, I will stop buying their products and support MillerCoors as my go-to cheap staple. Buh-bye Bud. You a$sholes wasting our money with this nonsense just properly motivated me to stop wasting money on YOUR nonsense!

Aug 15, 2013 7:20PM

While working for a Coors distributor in Texas, all retailers received our beer cold but many left the beer on the floor instead of in their coolers due to the limited amount of cooling space. Since Coors is the only beer that is not pasteurized, it will turn sour if left out on the floor or even worse on the distributer's warehouse. The next time you purchase beer, check & see how many cases are left out on the floor or how many may not be very cold to the touch.

Aug 15, 2013 8:43PM

So BUT WIPER  is whining because they haven't come up with a new gimmick since the talking frogs.

Its an advertisement not scientific medicine needing a prescription

Aug 15, 2013 6:19PM

More corporate ****, BUD has been going downhill, and just want to bring attention to there brand.

Drink BUD only if that's all my friends have, but I prefer COORS LIGHT.

Aug 15, 2013 8:32PM
reading all the comments on here makes me realize ur all goin about this  ALL WRONG !!!  if u wanna settle this ,get a case of each and put them in a room with a kennedy and u`ll have a winner in about an hour.
Aug 15, 2013 8:44PM
If these companies have to quarrel over the stupid cans their beer must really be lousy. If I wanted cold beer I would refrigerate it and pack it in a cooler when going out. Neither of them can say much about their products.
Aug 15, 2013 10:27PM
Budweiser is a headache in a can or bottle.....If you made good beer like Coors you wouldn't have to grasp at straws to get Coors....just make better beer.
Aug 15, 2013 9:24PM
InBev can suck it. bunch of cry babies

Aug 15, 2013 9:18PM

I guess if bud light didn't taste so bad they wouldn't have a problem, fix your crappy taste and leave Coors light alone   and all Coors light drinkers the pint cans with the screw on  taste better than the 12 oz  can and you get more beer,   which reminds me I think im  goin to have a cold Corona, 

Aug 15, 2013 10:25PM
Who the h$$ cares!  Coors is mediocre at best - clog the courts with stupid and dumb lawsuits - 
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