'Light Beer Shouldn't Taste Like Water': Molson Coors Appeals Ruling Re Implied Competition


Molson Coors is appealing a decision by the advertising industry’s self-regulatory group that it should stop implying that competitors’ light beers “taste like water.”

In follow-up to a case brought last year by Anheuser-Busch Companies, the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs recommended last week that Molson Coors discontinue the claim that “light beer shouldn’t taste like water. It should taste like beer.”

According to NAD, “claims that foods or beverages have a bad taste or no taste require substantiation.”

In this spot for Miller Lite, a cyclist pedals up a mountainous hill before taking a break and pulling out a can that does not bear the brand of any Molson Coors competitors.



Once he opens the can and pours the contents all over his face, the voiceover says “Light beer shouldn’t taste like water. It should taste like beer.”

Although no specific competing light beer is identified by name, NAD determined that tasting “like water” is a measurable attribute.

“Reliable sensory testing could demonstrate whether consumers detect a watery taste or the complete absence of taste. Consumers may also reasonably expect that the statement is supported by such evidence,” the NAD noted.

Because Molson Coors did not submit evidence supporting the claim that any other light beers “taste like water,” NAD recommended that the claim be discontinued.

In response, Molson Coors stated that it “disagrees with the decision and recommendation of the National Advertising Division and will appeal the decision to the National Advertising Review Board.”

Molson Coors’ appeal is based on its belief that “the ads do not expressly identify Michelob Ultra or any other light beers” and it should not be precluded from publicly sharing its “opinion” that light beer should not taste like water.

“We vehemently disagree with this decision because we believe light beer should taste like beer, not water, and we are well within our right to share that belief,” Molson Coors chief communications officer Adam Collins told The Wall Street Journal.

Last week, Molson Coors said that in 2022 core brands Coors Lite and Miller Lite posted their strongest combined full-year dollar share performance in a decade.

Coors Light and Miller Lite collectively grew U.S. volume and dollar share in Q4 ended Dec. 31 “combining to outperform the combination of key competitors Michelob Ultra and Bud Light in U.S. volume-share performance” in the quarter,” CEO Gavin Hattersley said in a news release.

1 comment about "'Light Beer Shouldn't Taste Like Water': Molson Coors Appeals Ruling Re Implied Competition".
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  1. George Parker from Parker Consultants, March 1, 2023 at 1:46 p.m.

    As I alwys say on AdScam... It's not water... Its "Nuns Piss."

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