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Budweiser Will Sit Out the Super Bowl for the First Time in 37 Years

Anheuser-Busch will shift its marketing budget to support Covid-19 vaccine PSAs


For most millennials, 2021 will be the first year in their lifetimes that Budweiser will not have an ad in the Super Bowl.

Since 1984, Budweiser has run a Big Game ad every single year, solidifying itself as a staple of Super Bowl advertising with its iconic Clydesdales, puppies and heartwarming stories about what it means to be American.

But over the past year, a lot has been disrupted in American life. And that’s pushed Anheuser-Busch to reevaluate its priorities, said the beverage giant’s U.S. chief marketing officer Marcel Marcondes. “We don’t want to go back to normal,” he said. “We want to get better, we need to keep the learnings, and we need to evolve.”

Key to those learnings is ensuring that Anheuser-Busch’s brands center humanity in its actions, and being sensitive and responsive to the experience of consumers as the Covid-19 pandemic upended their lives, Marcondes said. Budweiser responded to the multiple concurrent crises of 2020 with several tangible brand actions, from converting stadiums to blood drive centers to supporting bars and restaurants, and creating a scholarship fund to diversify the brewing industry.

When looking at how to apply these ideals to the Super Bowl, “We said, ‘Isn’t it the time for Budweiser to do something, given that we were so far away from normality here?” Marcondes explained.