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These companies aren’t airing commercials during this year’s Super Bowl. Here’s why

No “smaht pahk” in 2021

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Three of the world’s largest beverage companies have decided to back out of advertising during this year’s Super Bowl broadcast.

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Even if Super Bowl Sunday turns out to be a bore, fans can always count on the annual event to deliver some of the year’s most memorable and entertaining commercials.

The lineup of Super Bowl ads will look a little different in 2021 as four prominent participants have decided to sit this year out.

What happened?

Budweiser announced on Monday that it will be joining Pepsi, Coca-Cola and Hyundai in taking a step back from Super Bowl advertisements this year and instead directing its focus and funding on the COVID-19 vaccine, The New York Post reports.


According to USA Today, a Coca-Cola spokesperson stated earlier this month that the company would not air an ad during the Super Bowl to “ensure we investing in the right resources during these unprecedented times.”

Coca-Cola spent $10 million on advertisements in the 2020 Super Bowl, Variety reports. The Company’s decision not to participate this year comes months after it announced it would lay off 2,200 employees as a result of the pandemic, as The Associated Press reported in December.

Pepsi has decided to shift its focus toward the Super Bowl Halftime Show in lieu of traditional game day commercials, according to USA Today.

Todd Kaplan, Pepsi’s vice president of marketing recently stated in a release (via Variety): “We are going to double down on our existing 12 minutes in the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show in the middle of the Super Bowl, and we are going to build it out like we have never built it out before.”

On Jan. 8, Pepsi released a new commercial featuring the show’s headliner The Weeknd, in an effort to promote the upcoming event.

A Hyundai spokesperson reportedly stated that the company’s decision not to air a commercial was “based on marketing priorities,” according to USA Today.

According to The New York Post, Budweiser is using the money it would have spent on advertisements to fund a 90-second video that promotes the COVID-19 vaccine.

CNBC reports that, as of Friday, roughly 39 million vaccines doses have been distributed across the U.S. while less than 20 million have been administered — falling well below the targets set by the federal government.

What does that mean for the Super Bowl?

According to CNBC, a 30-second commercial spot for the Super Bowl sells for about $5.5 million a pop — just under the $5.6 million for last year’s Super Bowl, and the aforementioned companies see their money better spent elsewhere.

Last year’s Super Bowl generated an estimated $435 million in ad spending — a new record, Variety reports, but CBS has yet to sell out all of its ad slots for this year.