Bud Light’s “Special Delivery” commercial dragged Miller Lite and Coors Light for using corn syrup in their beers, a move meant to portray Bud’s simple ingredients — water, barley, rice and hops — as superior. But corn farmers weren’t amused by the implication that corn syrup is unhealthy or undesirable.
Here’s the commercial by Wieden + Kennedy for the Anheuser Busch Inbev (bud) brand:
The National Corn Growers’ Association, which represents about 40,000 American farmers, was “disappointed” at the dig on corn syrup:
A farmer from Iowa posted a video of himself pouring Bud Light down the drain:
While also taking aim at two smaller competitors, Bud Light was using the Super Bowl commercial to highlight the fact that as of this month it lists its ingredients on its packaging. Such labeling isn’t required for alcoholic beverages, though many brands include calories and other nutritional information. Bud Light says it’s the first beer company to list ingredients in the U.S. “We think it is good for the beer industry as a whole to be transparent about what’s in your beer,” Andy Goeler, vice president of marketing for Bud Light, told USA TODAY. “Just as important as what’s in is what’s not in our beer. … No corn syrup, no preservatives, no artificial flavors.”
Corn-based sweeteners, especially high-fructose corn syrup, have been vilified in recent years as possible contributors to the obesity and diabetes epidemics. But Miller Lite wasn’t mad about the free publicity:
By halftime, Bud Light had two of the largest social-mention spikes out of the Super Bowl advertisers, with nearly 47,000 mentions, according to social media measurement firm Brandwatch, the Wall Street Journal reports. Bud Light got about 1,300 mentions in the minute following its corn syrup ad.
Other alcoholic beverage companies jumped on the Twitter train to ride it wherever it was going: