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Budweiser to skip Super Bowl ads, donate to coronavirus vaccination awareness instead

Budweiser to skip Super Bowl ads, donate to coronavirus vaccination awareness instead
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Anheuser-Busch will not advertise its Budweiser products during this year’s Super Bowl for the first time since 1983, instead putting that money toward promoting vaccination awareness, the company announced this week.

The company will retain four minutes of ad time for its other brands, which include Michelob Ultra and Bud Light, according to The Associated Press.

Numerous companies, hit hard by the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, have decided to forego advertising during the game, which runs about $5.5 million per 30-second spot.

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The beer manufacturer is the latest major brand to announce it will eschew its lucrative Super Bowl spot this year, following Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Coca-Cola will sit out the game altogether while Pepsi, like Anheuser-Busch, will advertise other products, such as Doritos and Mountain Dew. Other companies not advertising at all include Audi and Avocados from Mexico, according to the AP.

Coca-Cola in particular has lost millions from the loss of movie theater and entertainment venue sales, which comprise about half its sales. The company said it would ensure that instead of advertising during the game it would put that money toward "investing in the right resources during these unprecedented times.”

“I think the advertisers are correctly picking up on this being a riskier year for the Super Bowl," Charles Taylor, a marketing professor at Villanova University, told the AP. “With COVID and economic uncertainty, people aren’t necessarily in the best mood to begin with. There’s a risk associated with messages that are potentially too light. ... At the same time, there's risk associated with doing anything too somber."

The game itself will be played in a largely empty Raymond James Stadium. While the Tampa stadium has a capacity of 65,890 people, attendance will be capped at 22,000.