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article imageBudweiser isn't running a Super Bowl ad this year

By Karen Graham     Jan 25, 2021 in Entertainment
For the first time in 37 years, a Budweiser commercial will be missing from the Super Bowl LV game on February 7. Instead, the Anheuser-Busch InBev beer will use its marketing dollars to support Covid-19 vaccine awareness and access.
Budweiser announced Monday morning that it is joining fellow juggernauts Coke, Hyundai, and Pepsi in skipping this year's Super Bowl broadcast amid the financial uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to USA Today.
In a news release, Budweiser said instead of paying to air a Super Bowl ad, it will instead be "reallocating the media investment" to raise awareness about the COVID-19 vaccine throughout the year, in partnership with the Ad Council.
Budweiser plans to donate some of its advertising airtime throughout 2021 to the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative, a coalition of experts in health, education, and the economy.
“A key learning from 2020 is that we must prioritize humanity and purpose,” said Marcel Marcondes, US CMO, Anheuser-Busch, in the news release. “So you’ll see us show up differently at the Super Bowl this year, starting with a bold commitment from Budweiser, alongside spots from Michelob ULTRA and Stella Artois that provoke us to think about what matters most in life, as well as Bud Light who is celebrating all of their legends in an epic spot. Plus, Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade, Michelob ULTRA Organic Seltzer, and Cutwater Spirits demonstrate our commitment to people-first innovation.”
Budweiser s iconic Clydesdales
Budweiser's iconic Clydesdales
CBS, which owns the television rights for Super Bowl 55, has sought $5.5 million for a 30-second spot during this year's broadcast, according to multiple reports.
The Bigger Picture
Anheuser-Busch is showing corporate responsibility by doing something a little different this year. Instead of the beermaker's iconic Clydesdales, or its cute frogs and adorable puppies, they will be airing "Bigger Picture" digitally before and during the Super Bowl, dedicated not to pushing its beer, but to highlight the COVID vaccine.
Still shot from Budweiser s The Biugger Picture digital ad.
Still shot from Budweiser's The Biugger Picture digital ad.
"The thing about America is we can do anything," the 90-second spot narrated by Parks and Rec actor Rashida Jones begins, showing scenes of people trying to get through the pandemic by sharing a socially distanced drink, waving to each other from apartment windows, and holding drive-by birthday parades. "Together, let's turn our strength into hope."
Alice Sylvester, the co-founder of Sequent Partners, a marketing measurement analytics consultancy, says Budweiser is taking so-called "purpose-driven" marketing to a higher level with its approach to opting out of the Super Bowl commercials this year.
“It speaks to the long-tail impact of Super Bowl advertising, which is as much about brand building than it is about short term revenue generation,” Sylvester said.
But, just so you know - Budweiser hasn't given up on advertising its beer. U.S. consumers who are at least 21 years old a free beer when they visit between Jan. 25 and Feb. 7.
Pepsi is still sponsoring the Super Bowl LV half time show that features The Weeknd.
Pepsi is still sponsoring the Super Bowl LV half time show that features The Weeknd.
The Weeknd
A reallocation of resources
Anheuser-Busch and Hyundai, Coca-Cola and Pepsi all framed their move to pull out of the Super Bowl commercials this year as a matter of strategy and resource allocation amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused millions of job losses and deep budget cuts across many industries.
Earlier this month, both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo said they would not be airing Super Bowl commercials, reported CNBC.
Pepsi is replacing its traditional Super Bowl ad slot with a new campaign to lead into its halftime show at the game featuring The Weeknd. This year will be Pepsi's 10th year in a row being a sponsor of the half-time show. Mountain Dew and Frito-Lay, which are both owned by PepsiCo, have plans for in-game ads.
In a statement to CNBC, Coke said that it will be toasting to other brands from the sidelines this year. “This difficult choice was made to ensure we are investing in the right resources during these unprecedented times,” spokesperson Kate Hartman said.
On January 8, Hyundai released a statement saying the company is sitting out of the Super Bowl, ending its long-running streak of Big Game ads, according to Ad Age.
"This was a decision based on marketing priorities, the timing of upcoming vehicle launches, and where we felt it was best to allocate our marketing resources,” the automaker said in the statement. “Hyundai has a long and successful history in producing memorable Super Bowl advertising, including consistently strong rankings in the USA Today Ad Meter and Ace Metrix, and we will certainly be back.”
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