Super Bowl ad heavyweight Budweiser will not be paying for a commercial slot to advertise its brand during this year’s game and would instead invest in COVID-19 vaccine awareness. It is the first time in 37 years the beer giant will not be appearing in an in-game ad.
Anheuser-Busch is still planning to air four minutes of ads for Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, and seltzer products.
Coca-Cola, Pepsico, and Hyundai have also announced they will forgo in-game ads this year.
“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,” Monica Rustgi, vice president of marketing at Budweiser, 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.”
A 30-second ad spot reportedly costs about $5.5 million for this year’s game, a slight decrease from last year.
Earlier this month, Coca-Cola and Pepsico said they would not advertise during the game, though Pepsi is sponsoring the half-time show and will also use a 30-second spot to advertise a new watermelon-flavored Mountain Dew.
Pepsico has sponsored the halftime show for ten straight years and has run a separate ad each year except 2017.
“We actually believe it’s the most valuable 12 minutes of marketing airtime out there in the world right now,” Pepsi marketing VP Todd Kaplan said. “It’s really where sports and music come together, and it really helps reinforce Pepsi’s pop culture music equity.”
Hyundai said its decision to forgo the Super Bowl was a result of marketing priorities and the timing of upcoming vehicle launches.
Vroom, DoorDash, and Triller, a rival to TikTok, are expected to make their first SuperBowl ad appearances this year.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers play the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV on February 7.