Interbrew slams ‘misleading’ Michelob ads

Interbrew, the Belgian brewing giant that owns Stella Artois, has taken strong issue with US brewer Anheuser-Busch (A-B) over an ad for A-B’s Michelob premium bottled beer. The ad highlights the difference in the price of a bottle of Stella in Belgium and the UK. Interbrew has complained to the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ad, which ran in national and regional newspapers this summer, was headlined: “Belgium is laughing at your expense”, with a price of &£1.11 quoted for a bottle of Stella in Belgium and &£2.09 for a bottle in the UK. The ad signed off with the line: “Michelob – a premium product on both sides of the Atlantic”.

An Interbrew spokeswoman says: “The ad is misleading and makes unfair comparisons. The prices for Stella are from certain Belgian and UK bars, which may not be representative. Furthermore, they don’t take duty into account – taxes are five times higher in the UK – or the fact that UK Stella has a higher alcohol level by volume. Nor do they provide comparative prices for Michelob in the US, UK and Belgium.”

Defending the ad, a spokesman for A-B Europe says: “We think it’s important for beer drinkers to have the right information as they make their brand choices. Our goal in developing this ad was to make that information available to them.”

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