For the first time in 37 years, Budweiser and its Clydesdale horses will not be galloping across TV screens during the Super Bowl. Alongside other beverage companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, the company decided not to buy ad space for this year’s big game.
Still, the Clydesdales will make their appearance, if only through the lens of Budweiser rival Samuel Adams. In their 2021 Super Bowl ad, released early, the Boston Beer Company shows a Bostonian inadvertently(?) setting free a group of harnessed Clydesdales, which then wreak havoc across town. The ad promotes Samuel Adams’s Wicked Hazy IPA, and acts as a clear dig on their competitors.
The joke, however, is most certainly on Samuel Adams. Budweiser’s decision to forgo Super Bowl advertising this year came after a disastrous year for the food and beverage industry. The restaurant industry lost over $240 billion in sales due to shutdowns driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month alone, the industry lost 370,000 jobs. According to Budweiser’s vice president of marketing Monica Rustgi, the company has shifted its marketing approach to focus on the promotion of vaccine awareness—hoping the industry can soon return to normal.
They’ve also reallocated the money they normally spend on their Super Bowl commercial slot—what would have been $5.6 million this year—donating the amount instead to vaccine awareness campaigns.
The donation is, admittedly, self-serving. And Samuel Adams continues to make efforts themselves to support restaurant workers (you can donate on their page here).
Still, the joke goes down like flat and dry beer. In short: it’s just wicked dumb.
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