To many viewers, Amazon.com Inc.'s first exclusive "Thursday Night Football" game last week looked very similar to a typical NFL broadcast. There were pregame and halftime shows, sideline reporters, and longtime NFL announcer Al Michaels calling the action.
But one thing was missing: beer commercials. These commercials are a staple of American culture, and without them, the Super Bowl just didn't feel complete.
Amazon has strict advertising guidelines regarding the promotion of alcohol on its website and platforms, including Prime Video. In the United States and several other countries, such as Canada and Saudi Arabia, ads for wine, beer, and spirits are not allowed.
The article states that ad content must not encourage, glamorize, or depict excessive consumption of alcohol.
Last week's NFL game saw ads from some of the usual sports marketers, such as insurance companies and movie studios. However, breweries were nowhere to be found. This is surprising, given that beer is such a popular drink among NFL fans.
This was a rare instance where beer makers and the NFL were not working together. Budweiser's Clydesdales are famous for their Super Bowl ads, but this year they were not present.
According to Brad Adgate, a media consultant and veteran observer of the ad industry, the idea of an NFL game without a beer commercial is "unheard of." He goes on to say that the two go hand in hand.
Breweries are still advertising on other NFL broadcasters, despite the recent controversy surrounding the league. According to the measurement firm iSpot.tv, beer brands have spent $60 million on TV commercials in the last two weeks, and 70% of that spending went to NFL programming. The top-spending brands were Corona, Michelob, Bud Light, Coors Light and Modelo. Jason Damata, a spokesman for iSpot.tv, said that a professional football game without a beer commercial is highly unusual, adding that it’s “hard to find an example of an NFL game without advertising from that category.”
It's possible that some beer commercials could still air during Amazon's NFL games this season, but they won't be sold by Amazon directly. The NFL gets a certain amount of commercial time during games and could use some of those spots to promote Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, the official beer sponsor of the league. And fans who live in the local markets of the competing teams can still watch the Thursday games on traditional TV and could see beer ads sold by the local broadcaster.
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