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Super Bowl LVII will see many new alcohol advertisers

Tim Baysinger
Jun 17, 2022
Illustration of a football in the shape of a dollar sign, sitting on a kickoff tee.
Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

An influx of alcohol brands figure to make their Super Bowl ad debut next February in light of Anheuser-Busch's decision to give up its category exclusivity, which it's held since 1989.

Why it matters: While the Super Bowl still provides the biggest audience out there for advertisers, some longtime marketers are starting to sour on its exorbitant price tag. At the same time, it's allowed for smaller brands to play in a sandbox that used to be off-limits.

Between the lines: Anheuser-Busch is the only brand to enjoy category exclusivity during the Super Bowl, which it gets by promising to spend ad dollars on other properties owned by whichever network is airing the big game that year.

  • A source with knowledge of these deals tells Axios it's likely that Anheuser-Busch no longer felt it was worth it to spend on those other properties, in addition to lowering its overall spend on the big game.
  • Unlike in 1989, there are many more ways to get your brand message to the masses.
  • The Super Bowl has become a younger brand's game: During February's Super Bowl LVI, 40% of the in-game advertisers were first-timers.

What they're saying: "The Super Bowl is a huge tentpole moment for consumers, but it doesn't necessarily line up with the key moment of consumption for the beer industry,” Spencer Gordon, Anheuser-Busch's vice president of consumer connections, told Adweek, which first reported the news on Thursday.

  • "We are evolving our investments so that our brands reach the right consumers, at the right time, in the right place, with the right messages."
  • Gordon added that Anheuser-Busch still expects to buy ad time during next February's Super Bowl LVII, which airs on Fox.

Be smart: Anheuser-Busch is not the only longtime brand that's shrinking its relationship with the biggest sporting event of the year. Pepsi is ending its 10-year sponsorship of the halftime show.

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