NAD Recommends MillerCoors Modify Certain Claims For “Taste Protector” Caps, Lids

New York, New York – Jan. 20, 2010 – The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that MillerCoors modify certain claims for its “Taste Protector” Caps and Lids. NAD also determined that certain claims were puffery and did not require substantiation.

NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, reviewed claims following a challenge by Anheuser-Busch, Inc., a competing brewer.  The following claims formed the basis of NAD’s inquiry:

  • Introducing the “New Taste Protector Cap.”
  • “Miller Lite bottles have a Taste Protector Cap. 
  • The special seal locks out air and locks in that Great Pilsner Taste.”
  • “Miller Lite cans have a Taste Protector Lid.  The special barrier blocks out that metal can taste and locks in that Great Pilsner taste.”
  • “Great Taste Deserves Great Protection.”
  • Miller Lite’s “New” Taste Activator Glass has the ability to “Lock in Great Pilsner Taste.”

At the outset of NAD’s inquiry, the advertiser represented that the “new” and “introduced” claims were discontinued before the NAD challenge. Given the advertiser’s representation, NAD did not review the merits of the claim related to the “New Taste Protector Cap.”

The print advertisement featured the statement “Great Taste Deserves Protection” in a large, prominent font, followed by the statement “Taste Protector” on pictures of the Miller Lite can and bottle and the following text: “Miller Lite bottles have a Taste Protector Cap.  The special seal locks out air and locks in that Great Pilsner Taste”; “Miller Lite Cans have a Taste Protector Lid.  The special barrier blocks out that metal can taste and locks in that Great Pilsner Taste.” 

The radio advertisements referenced “great” taste protection offered by the Taste Protector Cap and Lid “[w]ith a special barrier that blocks out that metal can taste and locks in that great pilsner taste.”

NAD determined that consumers could interpret these advertisements to mean that Miller Lite’s bottle caps and can lids have been improved by the addition of a “special” barrier that has the ability to better preserve the taste of the beer.  The advertiser conceded that there have been no changes to the bottle cap or can lid that would constitute a technological advance.

NAD noted that offering more than 100 days of protection was not a new product benefit and that the technology used in the production of the bottle cap and lid was comparable to the technology used by its competitors. 

Although the advertiser argued that the advertisements called out a benefit that its product packaging has long offered, NAD noted that consumers could not know from the advertising that the technology was not new, different, innovative or “special.”

NAD further noted that while advertisers can change marketing strategies to promote the different features of their product, they must do so truthfully to avoid any potential overstatement or consumer confusion.  NAD recommended that the advertiser modify its advertising by discontinuing references to the “special seal” and “special barrier” and avoiding prominent references to the “Great Taste Deserves Protection” (and the “great taste deserves this kind of protection” in the radio advertisement) that convey the unsupported message of a product innovation or enhancement. 

NAD determined that “Taste Protector Cap” and “Locks in Great Pilsner Taste” as they appeared on the Miller Lite bottle and can did not convey a new or special product benefit but simply call out the benefit that the cap and lid actually provide. Finally, NAD determined that “Locks in Great Pilsner Taste” in the context of the “Taste Activator Glass” advertising was puffery, not an objectively provable claim that required substantiation.

MillerCoors, in its advertiser’s statement, said that while the company disagrees with NAD’s findings regarding the references to “special seal” and “special barrier” in the print advertising and the phrase “Great Taste Deserves Protection” in the radio commercial, “the company will take NAD’s recommendations into account in future advertising.  We thank NAD for its careful consideration of the issues raised in this matter.”