Budweiser cancelled its Super Bowl ad and donated the money to fight COVID anti-vaxxers
via Budweiser

Budweiser beer, and its low-calorie counterpart, Bud Light, have created some of the most memorable Super Bowl commercials of the past 37 years.

There were the Clydesdales playing football and the poor lost puppy who found its way home because of the helpful horses. Then there were the funny frogs who repeated the brand name, "Bud," "Weis," "Er."

We can't forget the "Wassup?!" ad that premiered in December 1999, spawning the most obnoxious catchphrase of the new millennium.


And who amongst us hasn't lost a bet on the Bud Bowl?

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However, when you turn on the TV on February 7 to watch Tom Brady's Buccaneers go up against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, you won't find a 30-second TV spot from Budweiser beer.

Instead, the beer's parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, has decided to donate portions of its advertising budget this year to the Ad Council, a nonprofit heading a $50 million campaign to fight back against COVID-19 vaccine skepticism.

The current cost of a 30-second TV ad during the Super Bowl on CBS is roughly $5.5 million.

The decision comes at a time when shares of AB InBev have fallen 14.5% over the past year. Although at-home beer consumption has risen during the pandemic, COVID-19 has drastically reduced the sales of alcohol in bars and at sporting events.

via Jessica Merz / Flickr

"For the first time in 37 years, Budweiser isn't airing a commercial during the Super Bowl. Instead, we're redirecting our advertising dollars to support COVID-19 vaccines awareness and education," a spokesperson said in a statement. "Working with partners like the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative, we're helping to safely bring people back together again soon.

Who knew that America's most iconic beer would one day lead the fight against anti-vaxxers?

In the run-up to the big game, the beer brand has created a 90-second online pro-vaccination ad voiced by "The Office" star Rashida Jones. In the ad, Jones urges viewers to "turn our strength into hope" while "Lean on Me" plays in the background.

Bigger Picture | Budweiser Super Bowl Commercial www.youtube.com

Last November, the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative, a coalition of experts in health, education, and the economy, launched the vaccine education campaign

At the time, polls showed that 40% of Americans were not confident in a potential vaccine. That level of vaccine skepticism could seriously endanger any chance of a full recovery.

"Frankly, this is the biggest public health crisis we've ever faced, and we don't have time to waste," said Lisa Sherman, the group's chief executive. "We're working in advance so that once those vaccines are proven to be safe and approved by all the right people, we're ready to go."

The Ad Council launched a similar campaign back in the 1950s when it was tasked with encouraging Americans to get vaccinated against polio.

Budweiser isn't the only Super Bowl regular to pull its ads from this year's broadcast. PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have said they won't be running ads during the broadcast. Although Pepsi will be sponsoring the halftime show.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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