The hot topic on the minds and Twitter accounts of many farmers is the “corntroversy” surrounding Bud Light’s Super Bowl Commercial. Farmers were outraged with the way the company portrayed the use of corn syrup in their beer and they haven’t been silent on the matter.
Bud Light’s Medieval Mistake
Bud Light’s medieval themed commercial showed a king describing how beer is produced. When his subjects presented him with a large barrel of corn syrup, he quickly rejected it. The king stated Bud Light does not brew with corn syrup.
The commercial proceeded with the subjects returning the barrel to its rightful owner. The barrel then makes its way to the Coors Light castle.
You can view the commercial and read more at Ag Nook’s piece titled, “Bud Light Bullies Corn“.
Corn Growers React
It comes as no surprise corn growers are not pleased with this advertisement. One of the first to express their displeasure was the National Corn Grower’s Association. NCGA tweeted,
.@BudLight America’s corn farmers are disappointed in you. Our office is right down the road! We would love to discuss with you the many benefits of corn! Thanks @MillerLight and @CoorsLite for supporting our industry.
Pennsylvania Corn Growers Association took to Facebook to express their sentiment.
“PA Corn Growers Association is clearly dismayed by the Anheuser-Busch ad campaign portraying corn syrup as an unhealthy ingredient in their competitor’s products. We feel it unfairly associates corn-based ingredients to lower quality food products and places negativity in the minds of consumers. Corn based products are a safe, important ingredient in many of the foods we eat. PA farm families work hard every day to provide the highest quality products to the people of PA, the country and the world.
Iowa Corn responded as well.
“I am disappointed that Bud Light chose to denigrate corn,” Mark Recker, chair of Iowa Corn, said. “Please leave us out of the beer wars.”
However, farmers also sought out Twitter to show their animosity over the ad campaign.
— Dan Lienemann (@zapman62) February 4, 2019
For the record: The fact that Bud Light isn’t made with corn isn’t an issue. Most of us already knew that. It’s the fact that Bud Light, and now MillerCoors advertised in a way that insinuates that Corn is bad when in fact it isn’t.
— Matt Boucher (@boucherfarms) February 4, 2019
Bud Light: we don’t use corn syrup
Ag Twitter: pic.twitter.com/ZBjAgjqftB
— Cole Gilkey (@ole_king_Cole_) February 4, 2019
One woman even went as far to add corn syrup into her beer. View it at twitter.com
— KenzO (@koshiz) February 4, 2019
However, farmers weren’t the only ones to voice their reactions. Miller Lite fired off a tweet in response to the Super Bowl stunt.
Hey Bud Light, thanks for including us in our first Super Bowl ad in over 20 years. You forgot two things though… we have more taste and half the carbs! #itsmillertime
— Miller Lite (@MillerLite)
Miller Lite also released a statement regarding Bud Light’s ad campaign.
Additionally, Coors Light posted their counter to the advertisement on facebook.com.
Apart from social media responses, corn growers and the agriculture community have recognized and responded to the issue this ad campaign has presented.
NCGA Corn Board president and Nebraska corn grower, Lynn Chrisp, voiced his opinion on the subject, saying it was an unfortunate event. He said growers are extremely disappointed in the way Bud Light chose to target a natural corn product that has been successful for decades.
Mark Recker, Iowa farmer and chair of the Iowa Corn Growers Association, said it was a “pure and simple marketing gimmick.” Recker believes it is important for farmers to respond to the Bud Light advertisement.
Pam Johnson, former NCGA president, reflects on a similar situation from 2012 and 2013. During this time, Johnson had to deal with growing sentiment towards high fructose corn syrup as a replacement for cane sugar.
Despite the controversy, Johnson believes this is an excellent opportunity for farmers to engage in a conversation with consumers about the work they do. “The big deal is that Anheuser-Busch chose to stir the pot and make it look like corn syrup is a bad product. That is the issue,” Johnson says.
Bud Light’s ad campaign has created a tremendous amount of buzz around the topic. It has invoked all kinds of responses from the agriculture community. It is time for corn growers and agricultural enthusiasts to capitalize on this publicity and educate the community. With other beer companies on farmers’ side, it presents a unique opportunity to promote the corn industry.
Bud Light created a lot of buzz with their Super Bowl commercial, and most likely not the type they wanted. Corn growers expressed their frustration through social media and other means. Other beer companies rallied by showing their support for America’s corn growers. The agriculture community should take this opportunity and immense publicity to educate consumers and advocate for the corn industry.