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Pandemic prompts Super Bowl ad rethink in US

January 26, 2021 1:21 pm

Budweiser has said it will not advertise its beer during the Super Bowl this year, joining a growing number of big brands sitting out the annual American football championship.

The event remains one of the most-watched in the US each year, drawing more than 100 million viewers in 2020.

The advertisements are often as much a conversation-starter as the game itself, sometimes sparking controversy.

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Firms say the virus has made finding the right message especially difficult.

Others are grappling with financial hits caused by the pandemic, which has dampened spending on many items, while also casting more than 10 million Americans out of work, resurfacing racial and economic inequalities and sharpening political divisions.

Budweiser’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch, said it planned to reallocate the money it would have spent on a 30-second Budweiser spot during the game to support an Ad Council campaign promoting coronavirus vaccination.

It is the first time the flagship brand will not make a game-time appearance in 37 years.

“This commitment is an investment in a future where we can all get back together safely over a beer”, it said, adding that it would still promote some of its other brands, such as Bud Light, during the game.

On Monday, Budweiser released a full 90-second Super Bowl ad on YouTube entitled “Bigger Picture”, which showed US citizens overcoming pandemic challenges together and aimed to raise awareness about Covid-19 vaccines.

Coke, Pepsi and Hyundai are among the other major names also planning to forego airtime during the broadcast.

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