Why Budweiser Didn't Have A Super Bowl Commercial In 2021

The majestic Budweiser Clydesdales have made regular appearances in Super Bowl ads over the years, so when the heart-warming horses are noticeably absent, enthusiastic fans are quick to take notice. Such was the case in 2021, when both the large horses and cans of the golden brew were nowhere to be found among commercials aired during the Super Bowl. 

At the time, Budweiser decided to shift advertising dollars into an awareness campaign for COVID-19 vaccinations and channeled a whopping $5.6 million to educational efforts. The air time left in their wake was dedicated to a joint initiative of the Ad Council and Covid Collaborative Vaccine Education, a partnership that sought to inform the general public about vaccine availability and effectiveness. In addition to diverting advertising resources, the beer company also put up 1 million dollars of donated air time on TV and radio for informative advertisements to run and gave out free beer to encourage individuals to get COVID-19 vaccinations. 

Tactical marketing strategies

From touching storylines to motivational messages, the Budweiser Super Bowl commercials have harnessed the spirit of America. A 30-second spot can cost companies several million dollars, so it makes sense these short advertisements try to pull on the heartstrings or garner appreciative chuckles from captive audiences. Teams work on the projects at length, strategically testing storylines and conducting research experiments to test how ideas land. 

Epsilon's Chief Creative Officer John Immesoete has worked on Super Bowl campaigns for the brand and recalls the work that was put in. "Bud shoots way more ads than it airs," he revealed to LinkDex. After testing advertisements across the country, the brand sets itself up for Super Bowl success based on the results and feedback from participants. "Smart planning combined with great creative resources and plenty of them. It's no accident." Understandably, when the company doesn't air a commercial, people notice. Even in their absence, the Clydesdales captivate the minds of Americans to enter the mix of wider conversations.