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Budweiser Sits Out Super Bowl For COVID Vaccination Effort

Budweiser COVID Super Bowl
Budweiser has made a digital ad focusing on vaccinating people against COVID-19 (Image credit: Budweiser)

Budweiser is sitting out the Super Bowl for the first time in 37 years, opting to focus on a campaign aimed to boost the effort to get people vaccinated against COVID-19.

Anheuser-Busch, Budweiser’s parent company, will be using its four minutes of Super Bowl ad inventory--worth about $40 million--for a corporate commercial and spots that support some of the company’s other brands.

“A key learning from 2020 is that we must prioritize humanity and purpose,” said Marcel Marcondes, U.S. CMO, Anheuser-Busch.

“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.”

Budweiser has created a digital spot urging people to get vaccinated that will run before and during the Super Bowl online. It will be supporting the Ad Council’ public awareness and education efforts.

“This commitment is an investment in a future where we can all get back together safely over a beer,”

Anheuser-Busch said its corporate spot will highlight the company’s commitment to making a positive impact on communities and playing a role in the nation’s economic recovery. It will remind people of real-life moments when being together matters.

Budweiser’s digital ad is called Bigger Picture and is narrated by Rashida Jones.

The digital ad features the Bill Withers song Lean On Me and uses found and shot footage to show how Americans came together to do extraordinary things in 2020. It depects scenes ranging from birth car parades and virtual work meetings to the Lakers winning the NBA title. It concludes with people, including healthcare workers receiving the vaccine.

“For the first time in 37 years, Budweiser will not air a Super Bowl ad,” the spot says. “Instead, we are redirecting our advertising dollars to raise awareness of the COVID-19 vaccines. . . See you at the game next 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,” said Monica Rustgi, VP of Marketing at Budweiser. “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. That’s why Budweiser has joined together with long-time partner the Ad Council, along with COVID Collaborative, to donate airtime to increase awareness and education surrounding the vaccine.”

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.