Super Bowl LV will feature two of the biggest names in football. But several of the biggest names in Super Bowl ads will be on the sideline in 2021.
Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Hyundai are among the brands that won’t advertise during the Super Bowl, opting instead to redirect their ad budgets toward different aims — in Budweiser’s case, toward COVID-19 vaccine awareness over the coming months.
“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,” Budweiser vice president of marketing Monica Rustgi said in a statement. “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.”
Ads for this year’s Super Bowl run about $5.5 million for a 30-second spot, down slightly from last year, according to CNBC.
The brands won’t be going totally dark. Anheuser-Busch will still run four minutes’ worth of ads, divided between Bud Light, Michelob Ultra and multiple other offerings. Pepsi will have the halftime show all to itself.
Coca-Cola told CNBC that rather than spending money on Super Bowl ads, it will be “investing in the right resources during these unprecedented times.” The company’s revenue fell 13 percent in the first nine months of 2020 due to the pandemic. Hyundai told AdWeek that the company’s decision not to run an ad “was a decision based on marketing priorities, the timing of upcoming vehicle launches and where we felt it was best to allocate our marketing resources.”
(Also worth noting: announcing that you won’t run ads is, in its own way, a form of advertising.)
Like everything else in America, the Super Bowl ad framework will look very different on Feb. 7. Expect a heavy dose of “unity” blended with a heaping helping of, yes, “these unprecedented times.”
Will any ads go with humor or will this be a more solemn Super Sunday evening? We’ll find out soon enough, as brands begin releasing their ads in the next few days.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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