Jan 25, 2021

Axios PM

⛄️ Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green from the snowy Lincoln, Nebraska, bureau — is 364 words, a 1.5-minute read.

  • ⚡️President Biden overturned the Trump administration's ban on transgender Americans serving in the military. Go deeper.
1 big thing: A very different Super Bowl

Budweiser Clydesdales trot down Las Vegas Boulevard to kick off Super Bowl festivities in 2017. Photo: Denise Truscello/WireImage

Many of the most iconic Super Bowl advertising brands are going dark in 2021.

  • That includes Budweiser, which has been a staple of the lineup for 37 years.

The big picture: Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Hyundai are also passing on their usual Super Bowl slots, Axios Media Trends editor Sara Fischer reports.

  • Budweiser will redirect its Super Bowl ad budget to COVID-19 vaccine awareness.

Instead of running its Super Bowl spots on TV, Budweiser created a film starring Rashida Jones, which pledges critical vaccine support throughout 2021.

  • Between the lines: Budweiser owner Anheuser-Busch InBev will still advertise for brands like "Bud Light, Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade, Michelob Ultra, and Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer," Variety reports.

The bottom line: There's something almost fitting about the COVID Super Bowl without the Clydesdales.

2. Vaccine updates

President Biden, flanked by Vice President Harris, signs a "Made in America" executive order. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

  1. President Biden thinks we'll be up to speed on 1 million vaccinations per day within the next three weeks and that it could soon increase to 1.5 million a day. (Axios)
  2. Moderna said its COVID-19 vaccine appears to be effective against new variants of the virus that first appeared in the U.K. and in South Africa. (Axios)
  3. Drugmaker Merck stopped development for its two COVID vaccine candidates, saying they failed to generate enough immune response. (NPR)
3. Catch up quick

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to President Biden from London on Saturday. Photo: Downing Street via Reuters

  1. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is expected to preside over former President Trump's second impeachment trial. CNN first reported Leahy's role.
  2. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) won't run for re-election in 2022, opening up a Senate seat in increasingly red Ohio. Go deeper.
  3. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will resign tomorrow and attempt to form a new governing coalition. Go deeper.
  4. Chocolate giant Godiva is closing its 128 North American stores by the end of March, USA Today reports.
  5. Clubhouse raised around $100 million led by existing investor Andreessen Horowitz at a $1 billion post-money valuation. Go deeper.
4. New dating profile brag: "Vaccinated"

Photo: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Move aside, puppy pics: The dating apps trend might be proof of vaccination.

The big picture: "On Tinder, vaccine mentions in user bios rose 258 percent between September and December," the N.Y. Times reports.

  • “Those who have gotten the vaccine are using their status as a way to spark conversation with potential matches about their experience,” Tinder spokesperson Dana Balch told the Times.
  • “Basically, getting the vaccine is the hottest thing you could be doing on a dating app right now,” OK Cupid spokesperson Michael Kaye told the Times.