Super Bowl watchers tune into latest ads



LONG BEACH -Anheuser-Busch paid more than $2 million for a 30-second ad spot at the end of the first quarter of the Super Bowl to launch a new ad campaign.

It doesn’t have the same pizazz of last year’s “Whassup” campaign, but the small group of Super Bowl fans watching the game in the St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church Annex caught on right away.

“What are you DOING?” David Shoemake asked to anyone who would answer.

“What are you DOING?” other voices echoed around the room, followed by bellowing laughter.

They, like many Super Bowl fans around the country, paid more attention to the commercials than they did to the game. Advertisers pull out all the stops for commercials that they pay top dollar – more than $2 million for 30 seconds during the first half – to air in front of the nearly 150 million Super Bowl viewers.

Bowl watchers have come to expect the cleverest ads during the Super Bowl, and this year, like in years past, advertisers delivered.

The Fed-Ex commercial, illustrating what can happen when springs needed for reclining chairs weren’t delivered in time, showed people bursting out of the roofs of their homes because the chair company had to use the super strength springs they had on hand.

“The commercials are better than the game,” Dianne Shoemake said. “You get to see the new ones for the first time, and that’s what makes it special. I tolerate the game for my husband.”

Ads aired during the big game also are often better than ads aired other times of the year because more money is spent on making them, said Reed Guice, of GodwinGuice Advertising Agency. Guice has been following trends in Super Bowl advertising for years.

Some companies pay more than $1 million for their commercial, then as much as $3 million for the air time to be seen by more than 130-million viewers.

“This year, prices are down on Super Bowl spots,” Guice said. “Some are getting bargains in the fourth quarter – less than $2 million for their spots. We haven’t seen Super Bowl buying this soft since ’91, after the recession. This is because of what we could call a perceived threat of a slowdown in our economy.”

Guice said the ads are priced according to when they appear in the game. Pregame ads and fourth-quarter ads are the least expensive. Ads that appear in the first half are the most expensive, and ads in the third quarter are priced in between.

“They pay for the number of eyeballs watching the game,” Guice said. “If it’s a runaway game, people are going to tune out by the fourth quarter. They usually lose 20 percent of the viewers.”

By the fourth quarter, he said, viewers are not paying as much attention because they are more likely to be inebriated.

“This year, some people who didn’t watch the rest of the Super Bowl may be tuning in during the fourth quarter to get ready to watch the season premiere of ‘Survivor,'” Guice said.

As of Wednesday, four fourth-quarter ad spots were still available.

“I’m sure they sold them,” Guice said. “There won’t be any empty spots. CBS will probably bring in $150 million in advertising during the pregame and the game.”

Reni Winter can be reached at 896-0538 or at