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Miller To Jump on A-B's Recipe Change In New Ads

  • Ad Age, Friday, April 28, 2006 11:45 AM
Now that giant beer marketer Anheuser-Busch has acknowledged that it has changed the recipe of its Budweiser and Bud Light brands, archrival SAB Miller is anxious to position the admission as a sign of weakness. Miller and its new ad agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, are busy preparing new ads that could appear as early as this weekend trumpeting its competitor's admission. The strategy falls neatly into place since Miller ran ads in November 2005 saying it detected a "changed" Bud Light, citing increases in bitterness and carbonation. That attack followed a 2004 campaign by Miller claiming its beers had "more taste" than A-B's. At the time, A-B denounced the ads as "another marketing ploy." But on Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that in August 2003, A-B Chairman August Busch III told hops growers in the Pacific Northwest he intended to increase the proportion of hops used in A-B's beers in order to give the beers more taste after decades of gradually lightening their flavor to adjust to changing consumer tastes. "I told the growers of our desire to use more hops in our brewing for the purpose of delivering more amplitude and hop flavor in Budweiser," Mr. Busch told the paper. A Miller spokesman said: "We're glad the king has come clean and admitted their long-term strategy is to get bigger and bigger by making Bud Light taste smaller and smaller. We'll be engaging in specific actions around this issue." A-B declined to comment.



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