US: Court settles AB SABMiller ad row
The latest round in the battle for beer sales in the US has been settled by the US District Court. In a hearing on Friday, Judge Lynn Adelman rejected two of three SABMiller attempts to restrict Anheuser-Busch's advertising that points out Miller's South African ownership, but upheld SABMiller's complaint about one of the ads.
In his order, the judge ruled that Anheuser-Busch was free to say in its advertising that "Miller was purchased by South African Breweries" and that "Miller is South African-owned." The judge's order asked Anheuser-Busch to refrain from saying "Miller is owned by South African Breweries," however.
"We are pleased the judge agreed with the substance of our message," said Francine I. Katz, vice president of communications and consumer affairs for Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. "While the judge's order does not permit us to say 'Miller is owned by South African Breweries,' we view that as a technicality having to do with the company's legal corporate name. That phrase appeared only in a limited number of retail marketing materials and will be easily replaced."
Several months ago, SABMiller launched an ad campaign that claimed they were running for "president of beers." The ads called Anheuser-Busch un-American for refusing to debate them.
A full-page Budweiser ad will also run in six U.S. daily newspapers during the Memorial Day weekend and says: "A true American holiday deserves a true American beer...Budweiser."
In 2002, South African Breweries PLC (which changed its name to SABMiller) bought Miller Brewing from Philip Morris (which changed its name to Altria).
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