Budweiser opts out of Super Bowl commercial, other major brands continue to prepare

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Commercials are a fan-favorite during the Super Bowl. This year for Super Bowl 55, advertising may look a little different.

The famous Clydesdale commercials will not be featured this year, as Budweiser is opting out of doing any commercials. Instead, they will be donating millions of dollars to COVID-19 relief efforts.

Andy Goeler, Vice President of Marketing with Bud Light, explained this decision.

“Budweiser, they’re really rooted in Americana,” Goeler said. “This year, the best approach for them was to not run a Super Bowl ad and donate the money they would have used to help with the COVID education, etc.”

Peoria’s Brewer’s Distributing Company is a distribution center for Anheuser-Busch here in Central Illinois. Jessica Desantis, Marketing and Communications Manager at Brewer’s Distributing, said it’s very important Budweiser take the initiative to help the community.

“Of course the Clydesdales will be missed this Super Bowl,” Desantis said. “It’s obviously a big thing that people look forward to. But I think the bigger message right now is what’s affecting our community. And I think having Budweiser kind of step back and kind of help out with that initiative is really important.”

However, InBev, the company that owns Anheuser-Busch and Budweiser, will still advertise this year. Brands like Bud Light and Michelob Ultra will still have spots during commercial breaks.

“Bud Light, on the other hand, our whole thing is about fun,” Goeler said. “Bringing fun to the world. That’s what Bud Light does. So we’re going to try to entertain people (and) put a smile on their face for Super Bowl 55.”

Goeler said the commercials are a huge draw for the Super Bowl audience. The Bud Light commercials have already been released on social media. One brings back old “Bud Light legends” and the other pokes fun at the pandemic with an homage to the concept “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

“People watch the Super Bowl, (but) they want to see the ads,” Goeler said. “There’s a captive audience that wants to see great advertising.”

Brewer’s Distributing Company is stocked up to meet Sunday’s demand for beer. While Desantis was unable to give exact volume numbers, she said this year is on par with past years, despite the pandemic.

“It’s a huge week for our team,” Desantis said. “Everybody’s getting ready for the big game.”

Instructor of Advertising and Public Relations at Bradley University, Christopher Marsh, said a 30-second commercial slot this year costs about $5.6 million.

Marsh said that advertisers must walk on eggshells a bit this year, considering the political climate.

“I’m really excited to see how advertisers walk that fine line between yes it’s the Super Bowl… but also to kind of temper that with we are still in the middle of all of this,” Marsh said, referring to the pandemic.

Marsh said that InBev will have four minutes of ad time this year. Goeler said the dollars put toward the ads are well worth the money.

“At face value, they are expensive, but when you look at how that ad reaches over a hundred million people, it really turns into an efficient way to communicate to that many people,” Goeler said.

Goeler and Marsh both said the reach of Super Bowl advertising reaches more than 100 million people.

Marsh said he thinks the ads will be a pinch tamer and toned down this year to acknowledge the global pandemic.

Consumers can expect to see some newcomers, like the Tik Tok competitor Triller. However, Coca Cola is among some of the brands that will not make an appearance this year.

Jessica Desantis said to stay safe and healthy this summer, and to “drink wiser.”

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