Miller Lite, Coors Light make cases for Super Bowl spotlight

    • Molson Coors is pitting Coors Light and Miller Lite, its top light beer brands, against each other as it plots its first Super Bowl campaign in over three decades, per an announcement. 
    • A full-page ad in Monday’s New York Times makes separate cases for Coors and Miller, while the marketer promised the rivalry will heat up in the weeks ahead. Droga5 is the lead creative agency for the Super Bowl push, a spokesperson confirmed. Publicis Connect is overseeing media duties and in-house Volt Studio is handling social media.
    • The beer giant first confirmed plans to return to the big game when rival AB InBev relinquished its long-standing advertising exclusivity last year, but it wasn’t clear at the time what brands would be on display. 

    Molson Coors has been stoking excitement for its Super Bowl return effectively since AB InBev dropped its advertising exclusivity last June. With the broadcast just weeks away, the marketer is finally teasing out more of its creative strategy for the Feb. 12 championship game, with rivalry a major theme. 

    Rather than taking a shot across the bow at its chief business competitor, the company is pitting the top light beers in its own portfolio against one another as both vie for precious airtime where 30 seconds costs millions. Splashy print ads in the New York Times make the case for Miller Lite and Coors Light, with the former leaning into taste and the latter refreshment in line with its long-standing “Made to Chill” platform. Coors Light remains Molson Coors’ top seller in the U.S., but the announcement emphasized Miller’s sales momentum last year based on IRI data. 

    Leaning into an internal rivalry isn’t unheard of around the Super Bowl. PepsiCo has previously run commercials that depict tongue-in-cheek face-offs between offerings like Mtn Dew and Doritos. Molson Coors is promoting the concept as a way to keep fans of each brand hooked as they anticipate which beer — or beers — will make the final appearance. Regardless of which brand comes out on top, Molson Coors’ CMO Michelle St. Jacques said the Feb. 12 broadcast would be a night of firsts for both Molson Coors and the Super Bowl. 

    “We’ve done the work. We’ve built the credibility that gives us the right to be on the big stage. Our brands are the healthiest they’ve been in years,” St. Jacques said in a statement. “Our job in marketing is to get people excited about our products.”

    While Miller Lite and Coors Light have been locked out of the big game commercial space since 1989, both have stayed busy on the sidelines to capture interest around one of the key sales occasions of the year. 

    Recent Super Bowl-adjacent activities have featured a metaverse bar, a calorie-burning URL and an attempt to place a Coors ad in consumers’ dreams. Molson Coors indicated that such tactics contributed to AB InBev viewing its exclusivity as less exclusive than it once was, a change in thinking that also potentially reflects how digital and social are broadly commanding more consumer attention versus linear TV.  

    There are other reasons Molson Coors could be avoiding a head-on play against AB InBev. A Super Bowl campaign Bud Light produced in 2019 that dinged its rival for using corn syrup resulted in an ugly legal battle with multiple twists related to claims made in beer advertising.  


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