It will be the first time since 1983 the beverage will not make an appearance.
Known for its commercials as much as the game itself, this year's Super Bowl will feature a notable absence from the advertising block—Budweiser.
For the first time since 1983, "The King of Beers" will not be dropping an ad during the annual football spectacle. They join Coke, Pepsi, and Avocados from Mexico on the sidelines of Super Bowl LV, which has been massively impacted by the coronavirus.
Monica Rustgi, VP of Marketing at Budweiser, announced the brand would pivot towards resources for COVID-19 awareness and prevention, which includes a multi-million dollar contribution to Ad Council and COVID Collaborative's COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative. Instead of a traditional commercial, the brand is launching a special ad inspired by "individual acts of resilience" brought on by the crisis.
“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,” Rustgi said in a statement. “To do this, and to bring consumers back into neighborhood bars and restaurants that were hit exceptionally hard by the pandemic, we’re stepping in to support critical awareness of the COVID-19 vaccine."
For the first time in 37 years, @budweiserusa will not air a Super Bowl ad and instead is committing their support to our COVID-19 vaccine education initiative and other vaccine awareness efforts. We commend them on their generosity, powerful message & commitment to social good. https://t.co/MIc5yYG3Qn— adcouncil (@AdCouncil) January 25, 2021
The unprecedented impact of COVID-19 has forced many brands to cancel their Super Bowl advertising. Factors include high production costs ($5.5 million on average) and difficulty filming, as well as the challenge in creating something appropriate for an emotionally-fraught moment. Raymond James Stadium, where the game is being held on February 7, is scaling back crowds to one-third of its typical capacity—around 22,000 compared to 65,000. With these adjustments, companies suffering from record losses, like Coca-Cola likely found sitting things out smarter in the long run.
While this is undoubtedly a bummer for football fans, brand mainstays like Chipotle, Pringles, and M&Ms are still on for Super Bowl LV, as well as and Vroom and Mercari. Anheuser-Busch will also air commercials for Bud Light and Michelob Ultra.
The ad "Bigger Picture," narrated by Rashida Jones, will begin airing after the game. You can check it out below.
What do you think of Budweiser's decision? Will you miss Budweiser's commercials this year? Share your favorite one from years past in the comments.