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Budweiser, Coke, Hyundai And More To Sit Out Super Bowl 2021 Advertising, Nervous About Tone Amid Pandemic

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Like everything else, the Super Bowl will look different this year - not just during the game but also the commercial breaks.

For starters, the Clydesdales and others will sit on the sidelines of Super Bowl 55. Budweiser made the announcement Monday, joining other names synonymous with the Super Bowl: Coke, Audi, and Hyundai among them, as well as Pepsi, which will focus its efforts on the Halftime Show.

TCU Assistant Professor of Marketing Yash Bhagwat said the decision not to advertise makes sense given the toll of the pandemic.

"Part of it is just, what is the right way of going about it?" she said. "A lot of brands are just really nervous. 'Do we go the really humorous route in hopes of lightening the atmosphere up, but will that also be interpreted as really insensitive?' "

The brands said they'll re-allocate the funds originally earmarked for Super Bowl advertising. Anheuser-Busch, which runs Budweiser and Bud Light ads, said it will donate that money to coronavirus vaccination awareness efforts.

In a statement to CBS News, it said, "Later this year, Budweiser hopes to support recovery on-premise at bars and restaurants by accelerating COVID recovery so people can reunite again." Coke said, "This difficult choice was made to ensure we are investing in the right resources during these unprecedented times."

Instead, there will be some newcomers, like online car seller Vroom and TikTok rival Triller. Without the perennial favorites, experts said a fresh face could steal the show.

"For some ad agencies, the ones that have the opportunity, and if they do it right, it's a great opportunity to shine," said Professor Bhagwat.

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