MillerCoors CEO calls Bud Light Super Bowl ad ‘a gift’

Says controversy motivated distributors, employees

Miller Coors LLC (2).JPG

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:21 pm

MillerCoors chief executive officer Gavin Hattersley said Tuesday the Bud Light commercial highlighting the use of corn syrup in brewing Miller Lite and Coors Light, which aired during the Super Bowl, has been extremely motivating for his company’s employees and distributors.

The Miller Valley brewery.
Credit: Jon Elliott of MKE Drones LLC

“Anheuser-Busch could not have handed us a better gift if they tried harder,” Hattersley told analysts. “Our distributors are proud, they’re fiercely competitive and they like nothing more than a good fight … nothing we could have done could have fired them up so much. Our employees are just as fired up and the next few months are going to be interesting for sure.”

The Bud Light ad that ran during the Super Bowl included a mistaken delivery of corn syrup to Bud Light. The brewers’ characters, including the Bud Light knight, then attempted to take the delivery first to a Miller Lite castle and then to a Coors Light castle.

The spot drew criticism from corn growers and farmers.  The National Corn Growers Association, which happens to be based in St. Louis, like Anheuser-Busch, tweeted that it was disappointed in the brewing giant. MillerCoors responded with an ad in the New York Times, calling it unfortunate that the ad stirred controversy.

“It’s disappointing that ABI has chosen to single-handedly damage the overall health of the beer category health initiative by disparaging American farmers and natural ingredients that most brewers, including themselves I might add, use quite extensively,” Hattersley said during the Molson Coors earnings call.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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