Budweiser announces no Super Bowl commercials this year, will donate money to vaccine awareness

For the first time in nearly four decades, Budweiser will not have any commercials airing during the Super Bowl this year, according to Variety. 

The beverage company Anheuser-Busch decided to give the money that it might have spent on running a commercial for the beer to the Ad Council instead. The Ad Council is an industry coalition that produces and places public-service announcements to help raise awareness of the benefits of getting the coronavirus vaccine. “We know the resources that go behind investment in a game-day unit are significant,” says Monica Rustgi, vice president of marketing at Budweiser, in an interview, noting that the brand has enjoyed an in-game presence for 37 years.

The move follows decisions by both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo to sideline Super Bowl ads for their flagship products, and suggests CBS’ broadcast of Super Bowl LV will lack some of the event’s most familiar trappings as the world continues to grapple with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. CBS, which has been seeking around $5.5 million for a 30 second spot in its February 7 telecast, has yet to announce a sell-out of its available commercial inventory.

It’s not clear that Anheuser-Busch is cutting its usual Super Bowl spend. The company intends to run four minutes’ worth of advertising in Super Bowl LV for Bud Light, Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade, Michelob Ultra, and Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer, while running local ads in select markets for Stella Artois and Cutwater Spirits. That’s the same amount of national inventory it purchased last year in Fox’s broadcast of Super Bowl LIV, according to Kantar, a tracker of ad spending. Anheuser spent an estimated $41 million in last year’s game, according to Kantar and has on average accounted for 10% of total Super Bowl ad revenue in each of the event’s last five broadcasts.



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