Anheuser-Busch recently announced its Super Bowl plans, and one of its beloved beer brands will be absent from the big game. In order to raise awareness for the COVID-19 vaccination effort, Budweiser will forgo its national advertising spot during the broadcast for the first time in 37 years.
A 30-second Super Bowl ad cost $5.6 million in 2020, according to CNBC. Spots for this year's Feb. 7 broadcast are slightly cheaper—only $5.5 million. The money that would have went toward a Budweiser ad will instead be reallocated to support awareness about the COVID-19 vaccine all year long, Anheuser-Busch said in a statement. (Related: The Saddest Restaurant Closures In Your State.)
But other beverages under the Anheuser-Busch umbrella will be featured in four minutes of air time, as well as a corporate spot focusing on the beverage giant's role in recovery efforts.
"A key learning from 2020 is that we must prioritize humanity and purpose," Marcel Marcondes, the U.S. CMO of Anheuser-Busch, said. "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."
This isn't the only company scrapping commercial plans for this year's NFL championship. Pepsi is also forgoing a minute or less ad to focus on its 12-minute halftime show featuring The Weeknd, which Matt Voda, CEO of marketing company OptiMine, calls interesting.
"This way, they get the best of all outcomes: they avoid the risks of striking the wrong tone with poorly executed spots, they still get the awareness-generating boost from sponsoring the halftime show, and their brand can be all about the party," he says. "That's a smart move. Pass the nachos!"
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