Still Smarting From The Dan Rather Flap, CBS Makes Another Stupid Move

from Adweek: CBS has agreed to stop airing three Miller Brewing TV spots following a protest from Anheuser-Busch that the work is based on improperly conducted taste tests, officials said.
A-B in November filed a protest with the four major TV networks over 11 Miller commercials. A-B argued that Miller’s taste test was improperly conducted in part because people were asked which beer had “more flavor” or “more taste” rather than simply which beer’s taste they preferred.
CBS agreed to pull three spots after concluding that they were “unduly disparaging of Budweiser and Bud Light,” and that two of the spots “convey an unsubstantiated preference claim.
“We will compete with anybody in this industry if they compete truthfully,” said Michael Owens, A-B’s vp of sales and marketing. “This isn’t a matter of hurting sales or not hurting our sales, it’s just not right.”
Editor’s note: Owens is correct about one thing. This is not right. One of the first lessons you learn in Marketing 101 is never, ever acknowledge a challenger brand.
A-B may not like the Miller attack ads, but they would be wise to ignore them. Of course, it’s much too late for that. They’re too busy making their own ads that attempt to undo Miller’s claims. And now they’re lobbying the networks. What’s next? Oprah?



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.