The St. Louis Rams and the Tennessee Titans
aren't the only ones fine-tuning their moves for the Super Bowl.
The work of Madison Avenue's advertising firms will be on
display during Sunday's game, with an expected audience of more
than 100 million people. It is a showcase date for television
Eight percent of those watching will be tuning in just to see
the ads, according to researcher Eisner Communications. Explained
veteran commercial buyer Bill Croasdale of Western Initiative
Media: "Virtually the whole country comes to a standstill when the
Super Bowl comes on."
This year, about a dozen Internet companies are forking over the
highest prices ever paid for TV commercials so they can join
regulars like Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi-Cola and FedEx on the show.
There were only two dot-coms in last year's game (three if you
count lingerie marketer Victoria's Secret, which advertised its
fashion show Webcast).
"Some companies are out there on hope and a prayer, but it's
part of the new economy," said Jeffrey Taylor, chief executive of
online job site Monster.com, one of the Internet advertisers in the
Monster and a rival employment site, Hotjobs.com, each said that
visits to their sites soared after last year's Super Bowl exposure,
and both are back. They are joined by information provider
Britannica.com; the job site Kforce.com, wedding stationery
supplier OurBeginning.com and technology adviser Computer.com.
ABC officials say the companies helped push the commercial price
to an average of $2.2 million that's $73,333 per second for 61
half-minute commercials. The top price for an ad was said to be
more than $3 million.
The average is a whopping 38 percent more than the previous
record $1.6 million that the Fox network claimed for ads in last
year's Super Bowl. The price went up even though the average
audience rating tumbled 9 percent last year to the lowest level
The attraction is that the Super Bowl delivers the year's
highest TV ratings and audiences over the past seven years in the
120 million to 130 million range.
Anheuser-Busch, brewer of Budweiser, is the single biggest Super
Bowl advertiser with five minutes of commercial time in the game.
Its ads include one designed to tug on your heart strings by
showing the birth of a new Clydesdale horse and another with former
hockey star Wayne Gretzky driving a tipsy friend home from a bar on
a Zamboni machine.
Pepsi will pitch its hot-selling Mountain Dew. One ad shows a
bike rider chasing a cheetah across African plains, capturing and
reaching inside the cat to retrieve a stolen can of the soda.
FedEx inserts a delivery truck into clips from the classic
"Wizard of Oz" movie to show its couriers reach "places other
shipping companies can only imagine."
Pets.com's ad features its sock puppet singing "Don't Go" in a
plea to owners to spend more time with their pets by using the Web
retailer for pet supplies. Hotjobs shows its new computer hand icon
driving a hard bargain in a job interview while Tropicana pitches
orange juice as "the best 9.3 seconds you can possibly spend on
The World Wrestling Federation and Seven-Up each had ads
rejected by the ABC standards office, but came up with
The WWF, which won't specify what ABC found objectionable, says
its new ad shows "the unabashed excitement of WWF fans in
unexpected places." Seven-Up's original ad got thrown out because
it contained an off-color phrase. Its new one may not be much
better. It exhorts consumers to "show us your cans."