For 1st time in decades, Budweiser won't run ads during Super Bowl

Brenda Watkins
January 26, 2021

Budweiser will forgo advertising in its signature beer brand during this year's Super Bowl, instead using the money to promote awareness of the vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev announced Monday.

"Like everyone else, we are eager to get people back together, reopen restaurants and bars, and be able to gather to cheers with friends and family", Budweiser's VP of Marketing, Monica Rustgi said.

Instead of running its in-game Super Bowl ad, the company will run its ad digitally in the week leading up to the game on February 7. Narrated by actress Rashida Jones, the 90-second clip, titled "Bigger Picture", focuses on the resilience of Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a group of healthcare workers who receive the vaccine.

"We can not talk about AB without Budweiser", according to Marcel Marcondes, the company's USA chief marketing officer, who also said the spot might even include Budweiser's signature Clydesdales. Budweiser said it selected her voice for the short film for her ongoing commitment to COVID-19 vaccine awareness.

The Super Bowl advertising season, which usually extends beyond the broadcast into weeks of teasers, celebrity reveals, YouTube debuts and celebratory live events, is more subdued as companies struggle to adopt an appropriate tone after a year full of marketing missteps.

Budweiser wagon and Clydesdale

Budweiser isn't the only company sitting out of the Super Bowl this year, according to The New York Post.

"This hard choice was made to ensure we are investing in the right resources during these unprecedented times", Coca-Cola spokesperson Kate Hartman said.

Pepsi is still sponsoring the Super Bowl halftime show. As the pandemic disrupted the sports industry, many companies hesitated to pay CBS roughly $5.5 million for a 30-second slot during a game that some anxious could be delayed or even canceled. This year, it will cost $5.5 million to run an ad during the CBS telecast. The Buccaneers will meet AFC champions Kansas City Chiefs Feb. 7 in Super Bowl LV. Both teams punched their Super Bowl tickets by winning their respective championship games on Sunday. "For the Super Bowl, you generally go big or go home".

Super Bowl LV will air on CBS at 6:30 p.m. EST on February 7.

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