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The Big Game

It’s time for another Super Bowl. Time to see which team will make the respectable claim as the best in the National Football League, it’s business as usual really. Only, COVID-19, there’s that. COVID has changed the way we do everything and advertising during the Super Bowl is no exception. 

The truth is, the world was changing for marketers long before COVID, but when word first started to spread about Budweiser taking a pass on advertising during the Big Game, we seem to have forgotten why. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I was stunned, my first job was writing ads for Budweiser. After years of iconic spots that many look forward to watching, how could they sit out their biggest spotlight opportunity of the year?

But things are different now and 2020 blew the rules out the window. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there will be some gut-busting and heart wrenching ads this year. And with bigger brands like Budweiser, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Ford sidelining themselves, there’s an open door for new, up-and-coming brands to get in on the Super Bowl action. I for one, am looking forward to seeing what they come to the table with. 

The pandemic certainly flipped the marketing world on its head, but as I mentioned before, things started changing long before COVID-19,  political unrest, and any number of things that make marketing in 2021 tricky. A while back, we all got wise to Super Bowl advertising, or any advertising for that matter and we learned that actions speak louder than ads. Consumers care more about what your brand does and how it makes the world a better place than what your brand says. What you say in a Super Bowl spot pales in comparison to what you’re doing off the field. From Trip.com donating a million surgical masks to support the fight against COVID-19 to Budweiser using prime Super Bowl marketing dollars to support vaccine awareness and access, today, brands are showing they can do more than in-your-face halftime commercials and it’s paying off for them. Deloitte found that more than 80% of consumers are willing to pay more to support brands that raise their prices to be more environmentally and socially responsible.

So, what are my predictions for Super Bowl LV? I think many people will still enjoy watching the game and its commercials. They’ll laugh, maybe shed a tear, and hopefully, reflect a bit more than other years on how we’re all trying to make this world a better place. And this year, they’ll do it all from the comfort of their own.

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