For the first time since 1983, the beer giant isn’t advertising its iconic Budweiser brand during the Super Bowl. Instead, it’s donating the money it would have spent on the ad to coronavirus vaccination awareness efforts.
As of Friday, roughly 39 million vaccines doses had been distributed and only 19.1 million administered, falling well short of the targets set by the federal government.
The beer brand also plans to donate a percentage of its advertising airtime for 2021 to the Ad Council and Covid Collaborative’s Vaccine Education Initiative. Budweiser will support its efforts with additional campaigns throughout the year.
Budweiser isn’t the only iconic brand sitting out the game. PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have said they won’t be running in-game ads for their namesake sodas. Pepsi is instead focusing on its sponsorship of the halftime show, which stars The Weeknd. PepsiCo’s other brands, including Mtn Dew and Frito-Lay, are planning on airing commercials during the game.
Budweiser will still have a marketing presence around the big game. Starting Monday, the brand will air an ad that celebrates resilience during the pandemic, including a socially distanced birthday parade and athletes in Black Lives Matter jerseys. The ad, narrated by actress and director Rashida Jones, ends with health care workers getting vaccinated and talks about Budweiser’s donation.