Budweiser is skipping the Super Bowl for the first time in 37 years

January 25, 2021, 5:51 PM UTC

In a vacuum, Tom Brady returning to the Super Bowl feels like a sign things may be finally returning to normal. But after a year in which over 400,000 Americans have lost their lives to the coronavirus pandemic, things are anything but. 

After all, Brady is a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, and, for the first time in 37 years, Budweiser is skipping its annual Super Bowl commercial spot, the beer brand announced in a statement Monday morning. 

Instead, Anheuser-Busch will use its marketing dollars to support COVID-19 vaccine education and awareness efforts in partnership with Ad Council and COVID Collaborative. 

The brand released its 2021 Super Bowl commercial on social media. Titled “Bigger Picture,” the roughly 90-second ad highlights “America’s collective resilience” in the face of the pandemic.

“[Over the past year] we’ve seen everyday people turn isolation into connection, and strength into hope. We made our new Super Bowl ad – “Bigger Picture” narrated by Rashida Jones – to champion those stories and honor the ordinary people of America doing extraordinary things,” Budweiser said in an accompanying statement.

The Super Bowl is typically the biggest advertising event of the year, but traditional Super Bowl parties, an annual gathering for millions of Americans, likely won’t happen this year. And companies are hesitant to spend the $5.5 million it costs for a 30 second commercial spot amid economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic. 

Budweiser joins a number of  Super Bowl commercial stalwarts to forego their slots in this year’s big game, including Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and Audi.

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