‘Lean on Me’ Helps Budweiser Promote COVID Efforts
Budweiser is forgoing a Super Bowl commercial this year in favor of a campaign designed to promote coronavirus vaccines with a new rendition of Bill Withers' "Lean on Me."
The 90-second spot, called "Bigger Picture," depicts how people have persevered throughout the pandemic. As actress Rashida Jones narrates about the American spirit, men and women are seen singing Withers' classic from a number of places, including fire escapes and windows of a city high-rise.
Scenes also include a man getting interrupted from his video conference by his dog and a fence between neighbors gets turned into a table so they enjoy a socially distanced beer. The ad then pivots to show people receiving their vaccines.
You can watch the clip below.
"For the first time in 37 years, Budweiser will not air a Super Bowl ad," reads a graphic at the end of the ad. "Instead, we are directing our advertising dollars to raise awareness of the COVID-19 vaccines, beginning by joining forces with the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative. See you at the game next year."
CNN reports that Budweiser's stake in the campaign is believed to be $5.6 million, with $1 million to be used on future ad buys. It also notes that Budweiser's parent company, Anheuser-Busch, will still show commercials for two of its other properties: Bud Light and Michelob Ultra will feature in four minutes of airtime during the game. Michelob Ultra has already unveiled its commercial, in which the bass line from Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side" is featured prominently via a sample in A Tribe Called Quest's "Can I Kick It?"
"Some people might wonder why we're not showing up at the Super Bowl," Budweiser's Monica Rustgi said. "But we will just show up in a different way."