Budweiser has pulled out of advertising at the Super Bowl for the first time in 37 years, joining fellow drinks companies Coke and Pepsi in the exodus.
The brewer has decided to use its ad budget to support COVID-19 vaccine awareness instead. Super Bowl ads cost millions to film, with 30-second time slots costing about $5.5million according to CNBC. The game is scheduled to be played on February 7, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
“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 vice president of marketing Monica Rustgi said. “To do this, and to bring consumers back into neighbourhood bars and restaurants that were hit exceptionally hard by the pandemic, we’re stepping in to support critical awareness of the COVID-19 vaccine.”
Budweiser will donate a portion of the money it would’ve spent on a Super Bowl commercial time slot to the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative, a coalition of experts in health, education and the economy. They have joined together for a $50million vaccine education campaign.
While Budweiser didn’t reveal the exact amount it would spend on the COVID-19 advertisements, it has called the move a “a multi-million dollar commitment.”
The brewer will also air a 90-second ad titled The Bigger Picture on digital platforms before and during the Super Bowl.
Parent company AB InBev will still be running four minutes of advertisements throughout the game from some of its other brands: Bud Light, Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade, Michelob Ultra, and Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer.
The announcement from Budweiser comes after Pepsi revealed it would not have a Super Bowl commercial this year. Instead the company is focussing the money on its sponsorship of the halftime show.
Coca-Cola has been hard hit during COVID-19, since half of its sales come from stadiums, movie theatres and other usually crowded places that have been closed during the pandemic. The company announced retrenchments in December, and said it said it wouldn’t advertise this year to ensure it’s “investing in the right resources during these unprecedented times.”