NEW YORK (AP) – For the first time since 1983, when Anheuser-Busch used all of their advertising time to feature a beer called Bud Light, the beer giant is not promoting its iconic Budweiser brand during the Super Bowl . Instead, he donates the money he would have spent on advertising to coronavirus vaccination awareness efforts.
Anheuser-Busch still has four minutes of in-game advertising for its other brands including Bud Light, Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade, Michelob Ultra and Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer. These are some of its most popular sellers, especially among younger viewers.
But the decision not to do an anthemic Budweiser commercial – which in nearly four decades has made American frog icons chirping “Budweiser,” guys shouting “Whassup!”, And of course the Budweiser Clydesdales – shows the caution with which some advertisers are approaching the first Super Bowl of the COVID era.
“We have a pandemic that throws a veil on just about everything,” said Paul Argenti, professor of business communications at Dartmouth College. “It’s hard to feel the exuberance and excitement that people would normally feel.”
Anheuser-Busch’s move follows a similar announcement from PepsiCo., Which will not advertise its biggest brand, Pepsi, in order to focus on its sponsorship of the halftime show. (He will advertise Mountain Dew and Frito-Lay products). Other veteran Super Bowl announcers like Coke, Audi, and Mexico’s Avocados are completely absent from the game.
These big brand absences are just another way Super Bowl LV will be very different from previous years. Attendance at the game will be limited to 22,000 people, or about a third of the more than 65,890 seats at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. And Super Bowl parties will be more likely to be a smaller business with pods or families.
“I think advertisers correctly understood that it was a riskier year for the Super Bowl,” said Charles Taylor, professor of marketing at Villanova University. “With COVID and the economic uncertainty, people aren’t necessarily in the best mood to begin with. There is a risk associated with potentially too light messages. … At the same time, there is a risk associated with doing something too dark.
The pandemic has severely reduced sales for many Super Bowl advertisers. With expensive commercials costing around $ 5.5 million for 30 seconds when airing February 7 on CBS, some may have decided it wasn’t worth it this year. Coca-Cola, for example, has been hit hard as half of its sales come from stadiums, cinemas and other generally crowded places that were closed during the pandemic. He announced layoffs in December, and said he would not be doing any publicity this year to ensure he was “investing in the right resources in these unprecedented times”.
To fill the void, newcomers like TikTok rival Triller, online indie marketplace Fiverr, and online car seller Vroom are rushing to take their place. Return brands include M & M’s, Pringles, Toyota and others.
Companies running ads this year face a number of challenges. Super Bowl commercials are typically developed months in advance and shot in the fall, which means the ads that run two weeks from now were shot under expensive pandemic conditions and with no idea how the election would unfold. presidential. This further complicates the already delicate process of striking a tone that recognizes what’s going on in the world, entertaining or pulling on viewers’ chords and finding a way to tie everything into their brand.
“It’s a tough year to advertise,” Argenti said. “It will be a good year for creative companies who know how to thread this needle.”
Monica Rustgi, vice president of marketing at Budweiser, said the brand always calculates how much it will spend on vaccine awareness. But she said it will be a “multi-million dollar” pledge that will include donating airtime throughout this year for the nonprofit Ad Council and COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative. Collaborative.
Budweiser will always have a big game marketing presence. Starting Monday, the brand will run an ad celebrating resilience during the pandemic, including a socially distant birthday parade and athletes in Black Lives Matter jerseys. The commercial, narrated by actress and director Rashida Jones, ends with the health workers’ vaccine and talks about Budweiser’s gift.
In the age of social media and digital advertising, brands aren’t just showing ads at an event, because consumers can see them online, anywhere from Facebook and Twitter to YouTube, said Rustgi of Budweiser. Budweiser’s pullback to the Super Bowl won’t be long-term either, she said.
“The Super Bowl is the most popular sporting event besides the World Cup that everyone is going to see,” Dartmouth’s Argenti added. “An event that attracts so many people to advertise will never go away.”
Durbin reported from Detroit.