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Budweiser won’t release Super Bowl ad for the first time in 37 years

It will, instead, redirect its advertising monies to promote awareness about COVID-19 vaccines.

American brewing company Anheuser-Busch has broken a 37-year-old tradition. It won’t advertise its famed Budweiser beer brand on Super Bowl Sunday (February 7, 2021).

Budweiser will, instead, reallocate its media spends to the New York-based Ad Council. It is an industry organisation that produces, promotes and distributes public service announcements to “help support COVID-19 vaccines awareness and education through various marketing efforts throughout 2021.”

Budweiser has, however, released a commercial in the build-up to the game. Called `Bigger Picture’, the 92-second spot narrated by actress Rashida Jones “celebrates the individual acts of resilience that sparked hope during a trying year.”

Budweiser has joined the likes of Pepsi, Coca-Cola and Hyundai, which are also skipping the Super Bowl. Pepsi, which is the official sponsor of the Super Bowl Halftime Show and the official soft drink of the National Football League (NFL), will dial down its ads to bring more focus to the show.

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“… instead of buying a traditional 30-second in-game Super Bowl ad, we decided to double down on the 12 minutes Pepsi already has in the middle of the game – the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show," said Todd Kaplan, VP of marketing at Pepsi.

This announcement does not mean Anheuser-Busch won’t advertise. It still has four minutes of advertisements for its other brands.

"A key learning from 2020 is that we must prioritise humanity and purpose. 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.”

"Plus, Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade, Michelob ULTRA Organic Seltzer and Cutwater Spirits demonstrate our commitment to people-first innovation,” said Marcel Marcondes, US CMO, Anheuser-Busch.

Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the NFL and its Halftime Show is one of the most-watched events of the year in the US – a goldmine for advertising. Last year’s event raked in more than 100 million viewers. As per Fox, the average cost of a 30-second ad for 2020’s event was a whopping $5.60 million (Rs 39.85 crore), a record high. Kantar reported that last year’s Super Bowl brought in an estimated $435 million in ad spending – a record.

Super Bowl LV will take place between Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.