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Why Some Advertisers are Sitting Out the Super Bowl
The Super Bowl will be missing a few familiar faces this Sunday.
Somehow, Tom Brady will still manage to make an appearance. But several notable brands have decided not to run a Super Bowl ad this year.
For the first time in nearly 40 years, there will be no Budweiser Super Bowl commercial. Coca-Cola and Pepsi have also opted out.
Super Bowl Marketing During COVID-19
Like everything else these days, the move is driven largely by COVID-19.
The year’s most expensive media buy – clocking in at $5.5 million – takes on a different tone for many organizations amid struggling business lines and layoffs.
Budweiser said it is “reallocating the media investment” to supporting the Ad Council and COVID-19 vaccine awareness. Coke also cited “these unprecedented times” in its decision to sit out the big game.
While flagship brands may be on the sidelines, it’s worth noting that a house of brands structure means these companies can still promote their other offerings. Anheuser-Busch can get credit for Budweiser’s purpose-driven marketing while still airing ads for Bud Light and Michelob Ultra.
Is a Super Bowl Commercial Worth the Money?
The move also highlights a shifting marketing landscape. Budweiser still produced a Super Bowl ad, which will be promoted online via its social channels. Pepsi will still sponsor the half time show, despite not purchasing a 30-second spot.
What’s more, COVID-19 is putting the kibosh on a lot of Super Bowl parties. That means ads will reach smaller, more subdued gatherings with fewer eyeballs per screen, prompting advertisers to rethink if the typical outsized Super Bowl ad is the best way to engage their audiences.
Social Distancing Powers Social Media
Clearly, some of the world’s biggest brands think their money is better spent with different messages on different channels – including social media.
The move has prompted a lot of PR – this year, brands are getting more yardage out of ditching the traditional strategy than going with the status quo.