Why Super Bowl Commercials Won't Just Pour Anheuser-Busch

Are Budweiser and football as synonymous as we've been led to believe, or is it the three decades of Anheuser-Busch-sponsored Super Bowls ads talking? The parent company of the popular brew has held court as an official sponsor of the National Football League's main event since 1989, per Vine Pair, meaning it's footed the bill for some of your favorite Super Bowl commercials — including an iconic Snickers moment starring Betty White. The beer company's Super Bowl tenure may even be responsible for some of the phrases in our everyday lexicons; Vine Pair points to the 2000 Budweiser ad that canonized the unforgettable elocution of the word "whassup?!" for instance.

At the 2021 Super Bowl, Anheuser-Busch forwent its usual ads for the first time in over 30 years to focus on promoting COVID-19 vaccines alongside the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative's Vaccine Education Initiative. Instead of releasing its Clydesdales and gearing up for a standard spate of ads in 2023, Anheuser-Busch will step down from its exclusive Super Bowl throne.

Anheuser-Busch will share the stage

Anheuser-Busch will still run ads during next year's Super Bowl, but it will share the stage with rival brands like Heineken and Molson Coors (as well as the NFL's official spirit sponsor, Diageo, and its official wine sponsor, E & J Gallo Wineries) for the first time since the 1980s, AdWeek reports. An Anheuser-Busch rep told the outlet that the company is hoping to connect with consumers throughout the year instead of dropping its annual ad budget into a single sporting event. "The Super Bowl is a huge tentpole moment for consumers, but it doesn't necessarily line up with the key moment of consumption for the beer industry," he said. 

We might be seeing a trend here. Earlier this year, longtime Super Bowl partner Pepsi gave up its reign over the halftime show for the first time in nearly four decades, per CNBC. Pizza Hut has also clocked out of its sponsorship deal, per AdWeek, allowing Little Caesars to take its place. One thing's for sure: Regardless of who has the biggest ads at next year's Super Bowl, there will always be plenty of beer to go around.