Pandemic Forces Major Advertisers to Punt, Change Tactics
For the first time in nearly 40 years, the iconic Budweiser brand won’t be advertising during this year’s Super Bowl. Yep, that’s right. The Clydesdales will be staying in the barn for the big game. Such is life during a pandemic.
Budweiser joins Coke, Pepsi, Audi, and other mainstays at the Super Bowl in choosing to redirect their advertising dollars. At an estimated $5.5 million a pop for a 30-second commercial, that’s a lot of money to miss out on as CBS is scrambling to fill the spots, generally sold out by Thanksgiving every year.
So, why the big turnaround? With the virus running rampant and unemployment numbers through the roof, many people are probably not in the best of spirits. Advertisers are wary of sending the wrong message, be it be considered too sad or too light. And, many of them have seen their profits plummet as well over the last year.
Like many major sponsors, Coke took a tremendous hit in 2020 as most venues where their product is sold, like stadiums, concerts, and theaters, were closed for all or much of the year. The soft drink giant announced layoffs in December, as well, and may have decided spending millions on commercials during such trying times for so many people wasn’t a great look.
Instead, many are redirecting their dollars. For example, Budweiser says it will be donating the money it would have spent on Super Bowl ads to coronavirus vaccination awareness efforts. It’s a good look, public relations-wise, and the effort will genuinely be beneficial as the war on COVID-19 continues.
While you’ll notice other brands, like Toyota and Pringles, rushing to push their product during the Super Bowl, some of the defectors have found different ways to advertise during the Feb. 7 game. That’s why you will likely see plenty of social media and digital advertising from Budweiser, Coke, Pepsi, Audi, and others who aren’t going the television route before, during, and after the game.
You will also see TikTok get in the big game too. The popular video app has partnered with the NFL for the Super Bowl and will host a virtual tailgate party on game day, starring Miley Cyrus. The NFL’s TikTok account will stream from the game.
With big brand names, where there’s a will (and dollars), there’s always a way to get your product noticed.