Benched: Major advertisers sit out Super Bowl

Budweiser and other Super Bowl regulars aren't buying ads this year, but plenty of companies on the rise during the pandemic are taking their place. (KPRC)

(NBC NEWS) – Football is the main focus Sunday, but when there’s a break in the action another big game kicks off.

The cost of a ticket to the Super Bowl for advertisers: $5.8 million for a 30-second commercial.

They’ll feature plenty of stars, but like most everything in the last year, the Super Sunday spots won’t be the same. Coke, Pepsi and Budweiser, normally big Super Sunday players, are sitting on the bench this year.  They’re being replaced by non-traditional brands like Mercari, Vroom, Uber Eats, Doordash and Square Space.

“These are brands that are online market spaces who have been helping connect people during quarantine,” notes Stephanie Paterik, senior editor of Adweek.

“They found a consumer base and gained in popularity during the pandemic and are looking to capitalize that and get a little bit more attention,” ads AdAge senior editor Jeanine Poggi.

Where that attention comes from maybe changing too. The big screen makes a big splash, but the more widespread and longer-lasting impact could come from social media buzz.

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