WWF throws hat in ad ring


Super Bowl notebook From wire reports – Apple Computer will return after 14 years. The World Wrestling Federation will make mayhem. And lingerie retailer Victoria’s Secret will invite viewers to watch its sexy fashion show on the Internet. These are some of the standout commercials at the Super Bowl, the biggest advertising event of the year. About 30 companies will pay a record average price of $1.6 million foreach of the 58 half-minute commercial slots on Sunday’s telecast from Miami.

That’s $53,333 per commercial second, and a hefty 23 percent premium over last year’s average. The price is roughly three times the highest-rated TV series in prime time. Despite the cost, the game makes a compelling buy, largely because of the national holiday atmosphere surrounding the game.

The research firm Eisner & Associates said its survey of 1,000 adults last weekend indicates about 7 percent of the audience tunes in just to see the ads and more than one-third expect to discuss them Monday morning. “It’s not just the Super Bowl of football, it’s the Super Bowl ofadvertising,” said Jerry Solomon, who buys commercial time for clients of SFM Media. “Everybody talks about the commercials.”

Apple Computer Inc. is widely credited for making the Super Bowl a commercial showcase with its 1984 ad that introduced the easy-to-use Macintosh. Apple also advertised the following year, but has been absent since then. Its new ad features the talking computer HAL from "2001: ASpace Odyssey" and is set some time in the future. HAL reminds a visitor named Dave that "computers began to misbehave" in the year 2000, creating a "global economic disruption" because they were not programmed to recognize the new millennium. But HAL notes Macintosh models alone worked perfectly and asks, "You like your Macintosh better than me, don’t you, Dave?”

A first-time Super Bowl advertiser, the World Wrestling Federation, gives a look at a "typical" day at its offices — bodies crashing through windows and office partitions while a couple share an embrace. Amid the chaos, WWF stars like the Undertaker, the Rock, Sable and Stone Cold Steve Austin cooly try to dispel "misperceptions" about violence and sex during WWF matches. The most surprising newcomer may be Victoria’s Secret, previewing its spring fashion show on the Internet. The ad opens by saying the two Super Bowl teams won’t be there, but “you won’t care.”

Budweiser’s Louie the Lizard, the architect of a failed attempt to electrocute the Bud frogs on last year’s Super Bowl telecast, gets a tongue-lashing from the frogs this year. Among other regular advertisers, Federal Express will show what can happen when you hire a rival carrier, M&Ms will introduce a crispy variety of its famous candy and Frito-Lay will pitch Cracker Jack and new barbecued Doritos. Pepsi-Cola has scaled back to two half-minute ads after running five last year. Coca-Cola Co., the biggest soft drink company, is absent, as are other veterans such as Nike, IBM and McDonald’s.

Shanahan’s list

Ever since the Broncos were fined $15,000 for failing to list John Elway on their injury report for their Nov. 8 game against San Diego — a game in which Elway played only one series — coach Mike Shanahan routinely releases a lengthy injury list. Wednesday’s list included 17 names, all as probable. The 17 included Elway (ribs), Terrell Davis (groin), Steve Atwater (shoulder), Neil Smith (abdomen), Darrien Gordon (shoulder) and Howard Griffith (knee). Atlanta listed two players as questionable — defensive end Lester Archambeau and fullback Brian Kozlowski, both with ankle injuries. Safety Devin Bush (hamstring) and defensive end Chuck Smith (leg) are probable.

Party Worm

There’s no word on how fast tickets are going for the party Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra will co-host tonight at Liquid on South Beach in Miami. The $30 admission charge allows access to the Triple-X No-No Room, the Retro Drag Room and the Funk Room. Last time anyone heard, they were still man and wife.

Security alert

Atlanta will have all its police officers on duty Sunday night and early Monday in anticipation of a win by the Falcons.

“We expect a celebratory mood after the game ends, and we pride ourselves on being a nonviolent city,” Nick Gold, spokesman for Mayor Bill Campbell, said Wednesday. “Keep in mind that this is the birthplace of civil rights and the nonviolent movement in America.” The city’s most popular restaurant and bar district will be closed to traffic from 4 p.m. Sunday through dawn Monday.