For the first time since 1983, Anheuser-Busch will not be airing its annual Super Bowl commercial to sell its top brand Budweiser. Instead, the company has announced plans to use those funds to push a marketing campaign relating to COVID-19 vaccines.
Some of the most memorable Super Bowl spots in recent history have belonged to the self-proclaimed "King of Beers." The Bud Bowls of the late 1980s, "Wassup" of the late 1990s, and the football playing Clydesdales of the 2000s have all etched themselves in the memory of Americans during the most-watched sporting event of the year.
But when the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers kick off in two weeks, Budweiser will be notably absent from the big game's ad lineup.
"We're still going to reach people during the Super Bowl," said Monica Rustgi, vice president of marketing at Budweiser. "It's just not going to be in the traditional sense. We're still using the conversation and the ecosystem around the Super Bowl to send a message, but we're also helping to be part of the solution so we can all enjoy an ice cold Bud sooner or later."
Even without Budweiser's ads, Anheuser-Busch will still be well-represented during Super Bowl commercial breaks, however. The company is planning spots for Bud Light, Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade, Michelob Ultra, and Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer.
Budweiser's decision comes after Coke, Pepsi, and Hyundai all announced they were pulling their Super Bowl ads in the face of financial instability brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.