For the first time in 37 years, the Super Bowl won’t be graced by a Budweiser ad as parent company Anheuser-Busch instead uses the money for COVID-19 vaccine awareness and access, CNBC reported.
Budweiser will run its ad digitally in the week leading up to Super Bowl LV, according to CNBC. The spot will focus on American strength amidst the ongoing pandemic, now almost a year in and with over 400,000 deaths.
The ad, CNBC reported, will showcase a group of healthcare workers who were the first to receive the vaccine. It will be narrated by actress Rashida Jones, known for her roles in TV shows “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation.”
In addition, Budweiser is planning to donate a portion of its advertising income to the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative‘s vaccine education initiative, with additional campaigns throughout the rest of the year, CNBC reported.
But the company isn’t done promoting its beer for the time being, CNBC reported, as it plans to give U.S. customers at least 21 years of age a free beer when they visit ABeerOnBud.com between Jan. 25 and Feb. 7. And Anheuser-Busch’s other brands, including Michelob Ultra, Bud Light and Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade, will run in-game ads during the Super Bowl.
Budweiser isn’t alone in sitting out selling an ad this year. PepsiCo and Coca Cola have said they’re not running ads in the game either, with more focus on sponsoring the halftime show starring The Weeknd. The pandemic has been hard on Coke because people haven’t been drinking as many of its products outside of the house, CNBC reported.
PYMNTS reported earlier this month on the efforts of corporate America to help with the COVID-19 vaccine effort. North Carolina companies like Honeywell, Atrium Health and Tepper Sports & Entertainment are trying to make vaccine rollouts faster. And in Washington, Starbucks is among the companies working on logistics for vaccine sites and rollouts.