The dust is starting to settle after the controversy in agriculture related to Bud Light’s Super Bowl advertisement touting its lack of corn syrup.
Miller Lite and Coors Light were called out by Bud Light during several Super Bowl commercials in its “Dilly Dilly” series of advertisements. The commercials got an immediate reaction from farmers and beer drinkers through social media, much of it being negative to Bud Light’s tactics.
MillerCoors, owner of the two light beers using corn syrup, responded to Anheuser-Busch Co. with an advertisement in the New York Times on Feb. 5. In the print advertisement for Miller Lite, the brewer thanked Bud Light for pointing out to such a large audience that their beer is brewed with corn syrup.
Miller Lite was also sure to point out that Bud Light did not make a distinction between “corn syrup” and “high fructose corn syrup” during the Super Bowl TV spots. “To be clear, ‘corn syrup’ is a normal part of the brewing process and does not even end up in your great tasting can of Miller Lite,” the advertisement reads.
The New York Times advertisement also highlights that Miller Lite is proud to source its corn syrup from American farms.
“It’s unfortunate that our competitor’s Big Game ad created an unnecessary #corntroversy. However, we thank them for starting this conversation on such a big stage because it allows us to clarify the truth and remind beer drinkers that Miller Lite has more taste than Bud Light with fewer calories and half the carbs,” the advertisement closes.
The Miller Lite advertisement was additionally shared on Twitter and has been getting praise from farmers with a number of replies:
This morning we shared a letter to America’s beer drinkers in the New York Times. #corntroversy pic.twitter.com/rLnAKQW8vB
— MillerCoors (@MillerCoors) February 5, 2019
Corn Farmers Share Thoughts
Besides farmers voicing their opinions about the Bud Light corn syrup commercial controversy on social media, they also shared their thoughts with AgriTalk.
Lynn Chrisp, a Nebraska corn grower and current president of the Corn Board of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), says the situation was unfortunate.
NCGA was quick to respond to the Bud Light commercial by tweeting back to the beer maker about the organization’s displeasure with the advertisement.
“Corn growers are extremely disappointed that Bud Light choose to target in their Super Bowl ad a natural corn product that has been used with great success for decades,” Chrisp adds.
It was “pure and simple a marketing gimmick” says Mark Recker, Iowa farmer and chair of the Iowa Corn Growers Association. Recker believes that it is important for farmers to respond to the Bud Light advertisement.
During 2012-13, Iowa corn farmer Pam Johnson served as the NCGA president. At that time Johnson had to deal with a growing sentiment that high fructose corn syrup wasn’t a good replacement to cane sugar.
Johnson relates that a number of studies were done during this time showing there was no difference between high fructose corn syrup and cane sugar.
“Even the American Medical Association, the nutritionist said, ‘Sugar is sugar.’ Moderate your intake of sugar,” Johnson says.
Despite the controversy, Johnson believes this is an excellent opportunity for farmers to engage in a conversation with consumers about the work they do.
“The big deal is that Anheuser-Busch chose to stir the pot and make it look like corn syrup is a bad product. That is the issue,” Johnson says.