Ads at $84,655 per second in Super Bowl

New York: Like the Atlanta Falcons, advertisers like the World Wrestling Federation and Victoria’s Secret are making their Super Bowl debuts. And like a veteran player who hasn’t played in the big game since he was a rookie, Apple Computer is coming back after a long absence.

While the Falcons and Denver Broncos tussle for the pro football championship in Miami on Sunday (US time), millions of people will also tune in to see what about 30 companies do between time-outs. The companies are paying News Corp’s Fox a record average of $US1.6 million ($2.5 million) per half-minute commercial. That’s $US53,333 per second, a 23 per cent increase over last year.

Although the price is roughly three times higher than the cost of airing an ad during the highest-rated TV series in US prime time, the game has no trouble attracting advertisers. The research firm Eisner & Associates said its survey of 1,000 adults last weekend indicates about 7 per cent of the audience tunes in just to see the ads and more than one-third expect to discuss them on Monday morning. “It’s not just the Super Bowl of football, it’s the Super Bowl of advertising,” said Mr Jerry Solomon, who buys commercial time for clients of SFM Media. “Everybody talks about the commercials.” Some notable companies will be absent from this year’s ad line-up, including Coca-Cola, Nike, IBM and McDonald’s. Apple is widely credited for making the Super Bowl a commercial showcase with its 1984 ad that introduced the Macintosh computer. Apple also advertised the following year, but has been absent since. Its new ad features the talking computer HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey, who reminds a future visitor named Dave that “computers began to misbehave” in the year 2000. But HAL notes Macintosh models alone worked perfectly and asks the visitor, “you like your Macintosh better than me, don’t you, Dave?” The World Wrestling Federation uses its Super Bowl debut to provide a look at a “typical” day at its offices. Bodies crash through windows and office partitions while a man and a shapely woman share an embrace. In the midst of the chaos, WWF stars like the Undertaker, the Rock, Sable and Stone Cold Steve Austin coolly try to dispel “misperceptions” about violence and sex during WWF matches.

The most surprising newcomer may be Victoria’s Secret, which is previewing its spring fashion show on the Internet. Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser is the only beer on this year’s Super Bowl, and the single largest advertiser with five minutes and 15 seconds. Other regular advertisers who are back include Pepsico’s Pepsi, M&Ms, FDX’s Federal Express and Frito-Lay.