Budweiser won't air a Super Bowl ad for the first time since 1983

Budweiser will not air a commercial during the Super Bowl this year for its namesake beer, marking the first time since 1983, and instead will donate its advertising dollars to coronavirus vaccine awareness efforts. 

On Monday morning Budweiser shared an ad narrated by actress and director Rashida Jones highlighting the struggles of the pandemic and announcing Budweiser’s donation. 

’For the first time in 37 years, we aren’t running a commercial during the Super Bowl. Instead we’re helping to bring America back together again soon,’ the ad states. 

Anheuser-Bursch InBev will use the marketing dollars to raise awareness about COVID vaccines and distribution and will donate a percentage of its advertising airtime for 2021 to the Ad Council and Covid Collaborative’s Vaccine Education Initiative nonprofit. Budweiser will support its efforts with additional campaigns throughout the year. 

Similarly, Super Bowl favorites including Pepsi and Coca-Cola have taken a step back from ads this year where a 30-second slot during the February 7 game cost $5.5million.

On Monday morning Budweiser shared an ad narrated by actress and director Rashida Jones highlighting the struggles of the pandemic and announcing they won't air a commercial during the February 7 Super Bowl this year. Instead Budweiser will donate the money they would've spent to coronavirus vaccination awareness efforts. The ad shared Monday showed two health care workers getting vaccinated

On Monday morning Budweiser shared an ad narrated by actress and director Rashida Jones highlighting the struggles of the pandemic and announcing they won’t air a commercial during the February 7 Super Bowl this year. Instead Budweiser will donate the money they would’ve spent to coronavirus vaccination awareness efforts. The ad shared Monday showed two health care workers getting vaccinated 

Anheuser-Bursch InBev is making a 'multi-million dollar' commitment that includes donated air time with the Ad Council and Covid Collaborative's Vaccine Education Initiative nonprofit

Anheuser-Bursch InBev is making a ’multi-million dollar’ commitment that includes donated air time with the Ad Council and Covid Collaborative’s Vaccine Education Initiative nonprofit

The ad from Monday shared glimpses of life amid the pandemic including a caravan party celebrating the birthday of an elderly woman, keeping a safe distance to curb the spread of COVID-19

The ad from Monday shared glimpses of life amid the pandemic including a caravan party celebrating the birthday of an elderly woman, keeping a safe distance to curb the spread of COVID-19

Budweiser still has four minutes of advertising time during the game for its other brands including Bud Light, Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade, Michelob Ultra and Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer. Those are some of its hottest sellers, particularly among younger viewers.  

Monica Rustgi, Budweiser’s vice president of marketing, said the brand is still calculating how much it will spend on vaccine awareness, but says it will be a ’multi-million dollar’ commitment that includes donated air time. 

As of Friday roughly 39million vaccine doses had been distributed across the US and only 19.1million administered, a sign that the nation isn’t keeping up with the government’s targets.  

PepsiCo announced it won’t be advertising its biggest brand, Pepsi, in order to focus on its sponsorship of the halftime show. However, the company will be advertising Mountain Dew and Frito-Lay products. 

Other veteran Super Bowl advertisers like Coke, Audi and Avocados from Mexico are sitting out the game altogether. 

CBS is yet to announce a sell-out of its available commercial inventory, as per Some newcomers have already emerged to fill the void left by Budweiser, Pepsi and Coca-Cola such as TikTok rival Triller, online freelance marketplace Fiverr, DoorDash, Scott’s Miracle-Gro, and online car seller Vroom.

Returning brands include M&M’s, Pringles, Toyota and others.

Last year Budweiser's Bud Light released a commercial showing superstar rapper Post Malone guzzling a Bud Light Seltzer, showing his brain fire off after a sip of the mango-flavored drink

Last year Budweiser’s Bud Light released a commercial showing superstar rapper Post Malone guzzling a Bud Light Seltzer, showing his brain fire off after a sip of the mango-flavored drink

The decision to not do a Budweiser ad – which over nearly four decades has made American icons of frogs chirping ’Budweiser,’ guys screaming ’Whassup!’ and of course the Budweiser Clydesdales – showcases the caution with which some advertisers are approaching the first COVID-era Super Bowl. 

Last year Budweiser’s Bud Light released a Super Bowl commercial showing superstar rapper Post Malone guzzling a Bud Light Seltzer, where his brain fired off after a sip of the mango-flavored drink. 

The pandemic has cut sharply into sales for many Super Bowl advertisers with many deciding the hefty price tag may not be worth it this year. 

Additionally the game will look different in 2021 with coronavirus safety measures, and advertisers can make money by placing ads on online platforms like Facebook and Tik Tok.  

These big-brand absences are just one more way Super Bowl LV will look very different from previous years. 

Attendance at the game will be limited to 22,000 people, about a third of the more than 65,890 capacity of Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. And Super Bowl parties will be more likely to be smaller affairs with pods or families.

’I think the advertisers are correctly picking up on this being a riskier year for the Super Bowl,’ Charles Taylor, a marketing professor at Villanova University said. 

’With COVID and economic uncertainty, people aren’t necessarily in the best mood to begin with. There´s a risk associated with messages that are potentially too light. … At the same time, there’s risk associated with doing anything too somber,’ he added.

The 2020 Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers attracted 99.9 million TV viewers. A view of the game in Miami Gardens, Florida on February 2, 2020 above

The 2020 Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers attracted 99.9 million TV viewers. A view of the game in Miami Gardens, Florida on February 2, 2020 above

Super Bowl LV will look very different from previous years. Attendance at the game will be limited to 22,000 people, about a third of the more than 65,890 capacity of Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. And Super Bowl parties will be more likely to be smaller affairs with pods or families. A view of last year's Super Bowl crowd in Miami, Florida above

Super Bowl LV will look very different from previous years. Attendance at the game will be limited to 22,000 people, about a third of the more than 65,890 capacity of Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. And Super Bowl parties will be more likely to be smaller affairs with pods or families. A view of last year’s Super Bowl crowd in Miami, Florida above

Coca-Cola, for example, has been hard hit since half of its sales come from stadiums, movie theaters and other usually crowded places that have been closed during the pandemic. 

It announced layoffs in December, and said it wouldn’t advertise this year to ensure it’s ’investing in the right resources during these unprecedented times.’ 

Companies that are running ads this year face a number of challenges. 

Super Bowl ads are usually developed months in advance and shot in the fall, meaning that ads airing in two weeks were shot under costly pandemic conditions and without any idea how the presidential election would turn out. 

That further complicates the already delicate process of striking a tone that acknowledges what’s happening with the world, managing to either entertain or tug at viewer heartstrings, and finding a way to tie it all back to their brand.

In the era of social media and digital advertising, brands aren’t limited to running ads during one event, since consumers can see them online, everywhere from Facebook and Twitter to YouTube, Budweiser’s Rustgi said. Budweiser’s Super Bowl step-back also won’t be long-term, she said.

Shares of Budweiser parent AB InBev fell 14.5 percent over the last year for a market value of about $113billion, as per

The closure of bars and sports stadiums resulted in a 6.8 percent revenue decline during the first nine months of 2020, though at-home consumption of beer rose amid the pandemic.