Budweiser, Coke, and Audi decide to bench Super Bowl ads this year

Bad news for everyone who watches the Super Bowl for the ads. 

Some of the world’s biggest brands are sitting out this year. Budweiser, Coke, Pepsi, Audi and Avocados from Mexico have all decided not to air commercials during Super Bowl LV (no, Louis Vuitton did not sponsor this year’s game), which kicks off on February 7th. The decision basically comes down to: it’s a sensitive time, moods are down and maybe pushing products isn’t in great taste. It is the first time that Budweiser has not aired a commercial during America’s most-watched annual television event. 

Instead, companies will use the money they would have spent on commercials to fund benevolent initiatives. Anheuser-Busch, for example, which owns the Budweiser brand, says it will donate the money to promote vaccination efforts. Coke, meanwhile, says it will be “toasting to our fellow brands with an ice-cold Coke from the sidelines.” 

Super Bowl ads, of course, cost quite the pretty penny. Last year, advertisers paid, on average, more than $6 million for 30 seconds of airtime. It raises the question: what else can millions of dollars and unparalleled publicity do? How about supporting small businesses?

Rest assured that game breaks won’t just be filled with dead air. Super Bowl veterans M&M’s, Pringles and Toyota will be back in their Sunday spots, while Triller, Fiverr and Vroom will make their debuts. As always, you can follow the action on Twitter. And for the game, check your local listings. 

We’ve seen novel responses to this novel virus throughout the pandemic. And who knows, maybe from now on every Super Bowl will inspire corporations to donate some cash for the good of people and the planet.