MillerCoors Cans Ad

It has been far too long since I wrote a post about a subject close to my heart  — beer.  But the commercial clip begs the question —  is a can refreshing?  And if so, can it be “the most refreshing can?” That’s the question that the Federal Trade Commission was investigating. But for now, the FTC has called off the investigation because MillerCoors has agreed not to run the ads.

The controversy began when A-B InBev (Budweiser) complained about the claims that the Coors Light can’s “double vented wide mouth can” produced a “smoother, more refreshing pour.” Budweiser asked Coors to participate in a self-regulatory proceeding at the National Advertising Division, but Coors refused, saying the whole thing was frivolous. The NAD must not have agreed with that assessment, given that it sent the matter to the FTC. 

Apparently, Coors decided it was better to waive a white flag. And for now, that should take care of things, although the FTC has stated that “the closing of the investigation is not to be construed as a determination that a violation of law did not occur,” and that it reserves the right to take further action “as the public interest may warrant.”

But one thing about this caught my eye. Apparently, MillerCoors made a statement last year to the effect that “all of the statements regarding the can either clearly are intended as acceptable marketing puffery or have been proven through extensive testing as accurate.” Puffery is just that – a non-scientific boast. Papa John’s claims its ingredients are “fresher.” That’s so nebulous, it’s just not considered a factual claim.  So the two concepts – “puffery” and “accurate” are almost mutually exclusive. Puffery is puffery because it can’t really be proven true or false. 

So, the notion that the claim is one or the other seems a little hard to swallow. Unlike a cold beer this time of year.