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.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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Canva

As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less