‘Corngate’ Continues as AB InBev Battles MillerCoors Lawsuit


We have not seen the end of Ab InBev and MillerCoors heated corngate battle, seeing as the battle continues to escalate. Last we heard of the corngate battle, MillerCoors filed a lawsuit against AB InBev calling their ad false and requesting for the ad to be taken down. AB InBev has finally responded, they have rejected MillerCoors call for the ad to be stopped. They are also standing by their ad and the messaging. Describing the ad and its messaging as truthful and accurate.

‘Corngate’ Continues as AB InBev Battles MillerCoors Lawsuit

About CornGate

Corngate started when AB InBev through its brand Bud Light decided to shade MillerCoors Miller Lite and Coors. They released a spot which was set in Bud Light “Dilly Dilly” universe. The spot shows Bud Knight arriving at Miller Lite and Coors castles with a massive barrel of corn syrup. Bud Knight claimed that the corn syrup was mistakenly delivered to the Bud Light castle. In the spot, their rivals confirmed that they brew their beers with corn syrup. This Super Bowl spot ignited corngate and corngate irrupted when MillerCoors responded. To respond to the spot MillerCoors ran a full-page ad in the New York Times to address the spot. Organizations and people from other sectors were also involved in corngate, with VP of National Corn Growers Association sharing a video of himself pouring a Bud Light down the drain

About MillerCoors False Ad Lawsuit

In March MillerCoors filed a lawsuit against AB InBev in the federal court in Wisconsin. The requested for the Bud Light spot to be halted claiming it was false and misleading the public. The suit stated that the ad willfully trademarked dilution and also damaged the brand’s reputation. According to MillerCoors AB InBev was confusing consumers by fear mongering them over a common beer ingredient, one that they use in a number of their own beers.

AB InBev Responds to the Lawsuit

In AB InBev’s response to the lawsuit, they rejected the request for Bud Light to take down the ad. They stated that they were telling consumers the simple truth, which was that they don’t include corn syrup as an ingredient in their beers. But Coors Light uses corn syrup as an ingredient and they are describing the statements as transparency. They then pointed out that MillerCoors has previously described corn syrup as an “ingredient” in Coors Light and Miller Lite. AB InBev also referenced the brand’s website which added corn syrup as an ingredient for all its beers. In the filing, AB InBev stated that corn syrup is no less an ingredient of MillerCoors’ beers that are barley and hops.

In the suit, they also stated that Bud Light has never disparaged corn syrup or mentioned the word high fructose corn syrup. Instead, they built the campaign around its medieval theme which allowed the brand to communicate the ingredients in a truthful and clear manner. A manner they also described as whimsical and a fantastical way. AB InBev also rebutted claimed that the ads harmed the brand.

To help rebut this claim, they cited several public and private comments that MillerCoors exec has made. The comments made by the execs suggest that the battle has actually helped the brand. One of such comments added to the filing includes a text message exchange that occurred during the Super Bowl between Pete Marino, MillerCoors’ chief public affairs and communications officer, and Gemma Hart, who was then the VP of communications in the U.S. for AB InBev.

The Text Message

The text messaged cited in the filing presents the battle as a fun-loving battle between the brewers. Below is the text message:

Marino: Game on. Hope you are well.

Hart: Ha, yes indeed. You guys were quick responding. Shame this Super Bowl final is so lame.

Marino: We are always quick. We don’t have as many layers as you do. This is going to be a lot of fun. You gave us a gift in some ways so thank you.

Hart: [prayer hands emoji]

Marino: Not sure what that means but I love this stuff.

Hart: It means ‘you’re welcome.’ Also, I think that emoji also means ‘thank you.’

Marino: [thumbs up emoji] see you on the battlefield.

Hart: [wink emoji]


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