Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE:BUD) announced on Monday that it is benching its Budweiser brand during the Super Bowl this year, the first time in 37 years that ads for its iconic brand will not make an appearance.
Instead, the brewer will use a portion of its ad budget to earn some feel-good extra points by supporting the coronavirus vaccine with a donation to the Ad Council, a nonprofit marketing group.
But even though Budweiser has been dropped from the roster, Anheuser-Busch will continue to plug several other brands during the game, including Bud Light, Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade, Michelob Ultra, and Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer. Ads for Stella Artois and Cutwater Spirits will also be shown in some local markets.
Budweiser ads have been a staple of the National Football League's big game for nearly four decades, sometimes even stirring up controversy. But with the COVID-19 pandemic canceling many game-watching parties, it is choosing to push other brands this year while raising awareness for the coronavirus vaccine.
But there's at least one new player on the field this year. Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) will be making its debut Super Bowl appearance with a spot titled Can a Burrito Change the World?, highlighting the role of the farmer.
On game day, Chipotle will also waive delivery fees for orders it receives through either its app or website, while donating $1 per order to the National Young Farmers Coalition, an organization that promotes independent family farms.
A 30-second Super Bowl ad will set back advertisers around $5.5 million.