Budweiser has aired a Super Bowl commercial every year since 1983

By Eric Todisco
January 25, 2021 11:01 AM

For the first time in nearly four decades, Budweiser will not be running a commercial during the Super Bowl.

On Monday, the beer brand announced that it will be forgoing its annual Super Bowl commercial slot after 37 years of iconic advertisements, such as the Budweiser Frogs, the Bud Bowl and the "Puppy Love" and "Lost Dogs" commercials.

Instead, the company, owned by Anheuser-Busch, will be allocating marketing funds towards COVID-19 vaccine awareness and access in partnership with the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative.

"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, per USA Today. "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."

Budweiser still plans to run a Super Bowl ad digitally, which was shared on Twitter Monday. Narrated by actress Rashida Jones, the 90-second clip, titled "Bigger Picture," focuses on the resilience of Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a group of healthcare workers who receive the vaccine.

"For the first time in 37 years, Budweiser will not air a Super Bowl ad," a message near the end of the clip reads. "Instead, we are redirecting our advertising dollars to raise awareness of the COVID-19 vaccines."

"See you at the games next year," the message adds at the conclusion of the video.

Other big-time brand companies like Coke, Hyundai and Pepsi have also opted out of running Super Bowl commercials this year amid the pandemic.

A spokesperson for Coca-Cola told CNBC earlier this month that the company's decision to forgo a Super Bowl commercial was "a difficult choice" but that they are "investing in the right resources during these unprecedented times." Meanwhile, a Hyndai spokesperon told Ad Age that "this was a decision based on marketing priorities and where we felt it was best to allocate our marketing resources," but promised "we will certainly be back."

As for Pepsi, the company is focusing solely on the sponsorship of their halftime show, which will feature a performance from The Weeknd, vice president of marketing Todd Kaplan said in a statement.

According to CNBC, a commercial for last year's Super Bowl — which drew around 100 million viewers — costed $5.6 million. This year, it will cost $5.5 million to run an ad during the CBS telecast.

Credit: George Frey/Bloomberg/Getty

Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Florida will feature a matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Both teams punched their Super Bowl tickets by winning their respective championship games on Sunday.

Several companies have shared teasers of their Super Bowl commercials, including Doritos, which will feature Mindy Kaling, Jimmy Kimmel and Matthew McConaughey, and Cheetos, which stars Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher.

Super Bowl LV will air on CBS at 6:30 p.m. EST on Feb. 7.