SABMiller and Brandhouse spat reflects rising tension

SABMiller and Brandhouse spat reflects rising tension

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SABMiller's South African Breweries arm has claimed victory in a long-running advertising battle against the Diageo and Heineken-owned unit, Brandhouse.

South Africa's Advertising Standards Authority has upheld an appeal from South African Breweries (SAB) over its recent 'Bigger is Better' campaign for Carling Black Label lager, SAB said yesterday (2 August).

The ruling largely reverses an original decision by the advert watchdog, in which it said Brandhouse was right to claim that retailers could make more profit through selling 660ml bottles of its Amstel rather than 750ml bottles of Carling Black Label. One of the adverts can be viewed to the right.

There is growing tension between SAB and Brandhouse as the Diageo- and Heineken-controlled company seeks to increase its market share of the South African beer market.

SAB said that it produced the Carling adverts to highlight Brandhouse's decision to reduce the size of Amstel bottles.   

Of the nine complaints by Brandhouse, only one was upheld by the ASA, which was that some of SAB's wording in the adverts was too emotive, SAB said. 

SAB has close to a 90% share of the South Africa's beer market, but the group's Q1 figures, released last month, suggest it has lost ground to Brandhouse in recent months.