Budweiser, Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cutting Back On 2021 Super Bowl LV Ad Spending

Part of the communal entertainment of the Super Bowl are watching the creative commercials. For many years now, it’s become a tradition of sorts.

In 2021, the tradition is facing an unusual — to say the least — business environment.

It’s no secret those ad spots are very expensive, costing millions for seconds of airplay. It’s a valuable captive audience, but this year is the first with a pandemic bearing down on businesses like the sun over a valley.

And Budweiser, Coca-cola and Pepsi, at least with their signature brands, are cutting back.

Budweiser isn’t the only big company skipping this year’s game. Coca-Cola (KO) and Pepsi (PEP) both announced in recent weeks they won’t be buying ads during Super Bowl LV. The sports spectacle has been “struggling to attract the degree of advertising demand it usually draws” because of the pandemic’s economic affects on company’s bottom lines, said research firm eMarketer. For example, Coca-Cola recently slashed 2,000 jobs as it grapples with a decline in revenue from lost sales in restaurants. Pepsi said it would rather focus its marketing efforts on its sponsored Super Bowl halftime show.

Budweiser is skipping the Super Bowl for the first time in nearly four decades – CNN

Can you blame these businesses for reducing their ad buying? There is another angle. How many people will be watching on traditional TV in 2021? How many are watching through streaming TV? How will these viewing numbers compare to prior years?

These are all good questions, and we don’t have the answers. My suspicion is that the number of viewers has been declining. Perhaps the ad spends aren’t just being cut from the Super Bowl but from traditional television in general.

This isn’t to say that this year’s Super Bowl — and honestly I don’t even know as I’m writing this who will be competing this year (that’s how invested I am in the NFL these days — hey, the Seahawks are out, that’s all I know!).

Ok, I felt guilty in that last paragraph so I just googled the answer: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

No wonder a west coaster like me doesn’t know who’s in it 😉 You planning on tuning into the big game this year? Any commercials you’re looking forward to watching?

When Regal Cinemas Reopen “Temporarily” No FREE Refills for Large Popcorn and Soda

You might have heard me gasp when I realized that one of the safety requirements when Regal Cinemas — IF — reopens on August 21 as planned is that they will not be offering refills on large popcorn and soda.

They also will require electronic ticket purchasing. In the past there has been a 50 cent “convenience fee” for that payment method. A little curious if that will be waived or still in tact.

Bolding below is mine.

Face masks will be required of guests in lobbies, hallways, restrooms and in auditoriums when not eating or drinking. Hand sanitizer dispensers will be posted at entrances. Vending machines and water fountains will not be available for use. When it comes to concessions, the menu will be limited, and self-service condiment stations will be closed. Refills on large drinks and popcorn will be temporarily suspended, and every other register will be closed.

Here’s what the moviegoing experience will look like when Regal theaters reopen this summer – ABC13 Houston

Now you might be thinking: big deal, who needs that much popcorn? Consider this, if you’re paying $15 for large popcorn and soda — and that’s what it cost roughly before the pandemic, the free refill essentially cut the price in half. When we watched multiple movies, we’d buy the large and get the free refill for the second movie. Now, it sounds like we will either be foregoing popcorn on the second film or dropping another 15+ bones, if that’s the cost when they reopen.

Wonder if the cost of the popcorn and soda will be reduced?

As previously reported (see: Regal Cinemas Switching From Coca Cola to Pepsi Products in Spring 2020 Causes Some Soda Fan Unrest), the soda brand has changed from Coca Cola in Regal to Pepsi. Not sure how many will still care about this brand change (we don’t).

Just having theaters open to go watch any movies will be good news. Still not very comfident they will reopen as scheduled.

Will You Be Smuggling in Coca-Cola Products To Regal Theaters When They Reopen?

Regal Cinemas official website is now sporting the Pepsi logo, not Coca-cola. When they come back, as announced previously (see: Regal Cinemas Switching From Coca Cola to Pepsi Products in Spring 2020 Causes Some Soda Fan Unrest), they will presumably be serving Pepsi products.

I know, this isn’t newsworthy anymore really – and yet it will be when Regal Cinemas open again. Spring 2020 has already been weird and unprecedented, but there was never any official date of this soda change announced other than in the spring.

Unfortunately, it seems spring will have passed before the theaters open again.

As mentioned before, the soda switch is largely a non-event for me. I drink both soda products and actually prefer Pepsi and 7-up over Coca-cola and Sprite, but there is one small silver lining, Regal will not have to worry as much about the soda change as if they just overnight switched while their theater was still open and operational.

Now, when they come back, moviegoers will likely be happy with the ability to see movies in the theater again, not that they can’t drink Coke with their popcorn.

(unless smuggled in, of course, hence the post title)

The other thing I’m curious about is all those college produced short videos that used to play right before the movies. Previously those were all sponsored (perhaps even co-financed?) by Coca-cola. Will Pepsi be sponsoring these now? Will Olivia Wilde from Booksmart be introducing these new short advertorials (which basically just pitched how great it was having popcorn and Coca-cola, er now … Pepsi?)

I realize none of this is all that important. Except to those who are very passionate Coca-cola products fans.

So, honesty time is upon us, will you be smuggling in your Coca-cola products into Regal Cinemas when they reopen or OK with Pepsi?

Regal Cinemas Switching From Coca Cola to Pepsi Products in Spring 2020 Causes Some Soda Fan Unrest

Do you prefer Pepsi or Coca-cola?

From red to blue in the neverending battle over the dominant sugar water.

Regal Cinemas will be the first of the big three cinema chains to split from Coca Cola and go with Pepsi products starting in Spring 2020.

it ended the exchange with a movie poster-style announcement that Pepsi products would be coming to Regal Cinemas this spring.

One of America’s Biggest Movie Theater Chains Is Switching to Pepsi and People Aren’t Happy | Food & Wine

Personally, I prefer Pepsi over Coke, but am OK with either choice, so this is a non-event for me. However, I know fans are passionate one way or the other. This could have negative implications for some Regal customers who switch to AMC or Cinemark (if they also have those theaters in their area, of course).

I also like the idea that one brand doesn’t dominate all three major theater chains. In the spirit of business competition — which ultimately is best for customers — having a split between the soda brands in the major theaters is good.

For me the taste of Coke has a little more bite to it than Pepsi, hence the reason I like it better. Also, I prefer 7-up to Sprite for the same reason. Coca-cola products tend to have an edgier taste to them. Again, I can drink either products, but prefer Pepsi.

Which do you prefer, Pepsi or Coca-cola? Why?