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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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U.S.

Ad board determines Coors shouldn’t say light beer tastes like water

Feb 24, 2023

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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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Molson Coors is appealing a recommendation by the National Advertising Division for the Better Business Bureau that the company stops running an advertisement that states, “Light beer shouldn’t taste like water.” The division determined the ad should be discontinued because consumers may “reasonably expect” that such a claim is supported by evidence. 

Anheuser-Busch, which makes Budweiser, Michelob Ultra and Stella, filed the complaint about the ad last year. Coors never specifically named a competitor, it just generically said light beer, but the advertising division determined that phrase is not puffery or a mere opinion.”

“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,” National Advertising Divisions said in a statement. 

Anheuser-Busch praised the decision while Molson Coors appealed to the National Advertising Review Board. Coors said it should not be precluded from publicly sharing its “opinion” that light beer should not taste like water.

Polling from YouGov, shows Americans’ top three favorite beers are all foreign: Heineken, Guinness and Corona. American light beer has been the subject of jokes going back decades, from Monty Python, to Crocodile Dundee, even Meghan Markle did a commercial about this in 2010. 

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“Light Beer Shouldn’t Taste Like Water.”

Ad agencies have been taking shots at their competitors for years. But now the National Advertising Division for the Better Business Bureau says Molson Coors crossed a line by saying other light beers taste like water. 

Anheuser-Busch, which makes Budweiser, Michelob Ultra and Stella, filed the complaint about the ad last year.

Analysts pointed to the Miller ad as a rebuttal to fitness-focused commercials from Michelob Ultra. 

Now Coors never specifically named a competitor, it just generically said light beer. But the Advertising division said saying “tastes like water” is quote: not puffery or a mere opinion.”

The division said it’s a “measurable attribute and reliable sensory testing could demonstrate whether consumers detect a watery taste or the complete absence of taste.” So the division says it is recommending that the claim be discontinued because Coors didn’t provide any evidence to support the claim. 

Anheuser Busch praised the decision while Molson Coors appealed to the National Advertising Review Board. Coors says it should not be precluded from publicly sharing its “opinion” that light beer should not taste like water.

Polling from yougov, shows Americans top three favorite beers are all foreign: Heineken, Guinness, and Corona. American light beer has been the butt of jokes going back decades, from Monty Python, to Crocodile Dundee, even Meghan Markle did a commercial about this in 2010. 

Meghan Markle: “more taste or less taste.