Story at a glance
- Anheuser-Busch will not be releasing a dedicated Budweiser Super Bowl ad for the first time in 37 years.
- The company is instead focusing on promoting vaccine awareness and distribution efforts, as well as the ideas of togetherness and connection.
- Anheuser-Busch recently announced a $1 billion dollar investment to support jobs and ramp up sustainability efforts.
For the first time since 1983, Anheuser-Busch has made the tough decision to forgo airing a Budweiser commercial during the Super Bowl. Instead, the company has decided to focus its efforts on coronavirus vaccination awareness efforts, dedicating $1 million to educational work being done by the Ad Council.
Anheuser-Busch hasn’t completely pulled out of the big game, though. Cesar Vargas, their U.S. Chief External Affairs Officer, tells Changing America that the company will air its first-ever corporate ad during the game that will be more about the connections that form when you crack a cold one, not just about the beer itself. Vargas also tells us that the company has a pretty big announcement to share with the world.
“We, like everybody else, have been managing through a very challenging year,” said Vargas. “The pandemic has had a huge impact on everybody personally, professionally. But we're kind of getting to that stage now where there's reason to be optimistic, and as we have managed our business throughout this crisis we’ve focused on three clear priority areas.
“The first is our people, meaning our employees, making sure that they always had the resources they needed to stay safe and healthy, then our partners and our supply chain, and then the third area is stepping up to bring in our unique capabilities, assets, relationships and reach to help our communities, where we live and work, get through this crisis as well. So, as we look forward, the next stage for us is to help play a leading role in this country's recovery.”
The first stage in their plan is giving up their coveted Super Bowl spot, donating a percentage of its advertising airtime to the Ad Council and Covid Collaborative’s Vaccine Education Initiative, to which it will also provide additional campaigns throughout the upcoming year. Instead, the brand had released a digital spot focused on the resilient people and their connections in the United States, as well as a group of health care professionals receiving some of the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The spot is narrated by actress Rashida Jones.
Airing during the Super Bowl will also be Anheuser-Busch’s first-ever corporate sponsored ad, not focused on promoting a single product line or brand but really just celebrating the idea of togetherness. Produced by Academy Award nominee David Fincher, the spot attempts to capture the feeling of uniting over a simple beer — whether for the happy moments, the sad, or those in between.
“Beer is always there, but it's really the moments and the people that matter. I think this television commercial will kind of bring that to life a little bit, and I think that that message has never been more important than it is today, given where we are as a country, and then as we think about getting kind of to a better place following a very difficult year,” said Vargas.
Next in their grand plan is the significant investment of more than $1 billion over the next two years.
“The purpose of that investment is to drive economic prosperity in our communities, enable more sustainable innovations and have the effect of protecting the more than 2 million people that rely on the beer industry for their livelihoods,” he said.
“We're an important industry,” he said. “We have the kind of reach, the kind of impact and the kind of footprint that allows us to make a big impact when you think about job creation and driving economic growth, which is going to be a fundamental element as we recover as a country. That’s why we're gonna step up and do just that with this new $1 billion planned investment.”
Vargas told Changing America that Anheuser-Busch is “actively exploring if there's any way we can be helpful” regarding vaccine distribution, and that of the $1 billion that’s to be invested over the next two years nearly $100 million will go towards sustainability projects such as solar panel installments and water treatment technology.
“I think the neat thing about this investment plan is the breadth. So it's not just one facility where we're going to go build something — we're going to try to have an impact in as many communities as possible. We operate more than 120 facilities across the United States, and a good number of those facilities are going to be receiving some of this investment support so that we can have as broad of an impact as possible.”
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