No Clydesdale horses or croaking frogs this year. For the first time in 37 years, Budweiser opts out of it’s usual Super Bowl advertising to instead raise awareness for the Covid-19 vaccine.
On Monday, Budweiser announced they would donate a portion of their Super Bowl advertising budget to the Ad Council, a nonprofit marketing group overseeing a $50 million ad budget dedicated to fighting coronavirus vaccine skepticism.
Rather than debuting an amusing big-game ad, the beer brand released a 90-second vaccine spot titled “Bigger Picture.”
Budweiser, an Anheuser-Busch company, isn’t the only big name brand to sit this year out due to the pandemic. Coca-Cola, Hyundai and Pepsi also chose to sit this game out due to concerns the game could be delayed or potentially canceled.
In Budweiser’s Covid-19 vaccination advertisement, actress Rashida Jones narrates while inspirational images from the pandemic are shown. The spot opens with the message, “The thing about America is, we can do anything.” Jones then reminds us all that we have the ability to “turn our strength into hope” as the song “Lean on Me” pulls on your heartstrings.
“Obviously people want to be entertained, they want to watch funny commercials,” said Jones in an interview with The New York Times. “What’s most important is that we prioritize this next phase.”
The thing about Super Bowl advertising is that it isn’t limited just to game day. Marketers usually set up teasers, celebrity reveals, debuts on YouTube, and celebrate with live events. However, marketing teams have struggled to find the right tone when it comes to advertisements during a pandemic.
“You can’t pretend like everything’s OK,” said Jones. “People can sense when brands are exploiting a moment.”