Super Bowl not so super?

CBS yet to sell out Super Bowl ads as many of last year’s dot.coms are gone

NEW YORK (CNNfn) – CBS is having difficulty selling ad time for this year’s Super Bowl, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The network is airing the game on Jan. 28, and even thought the event is just three weeks away, Viacom (VIA.B: Research, Estimates)-owned CBS still has excess inventory of commercial time on the shelf. Some 10 percent, or about six, of the 30-second spots remain, Joseph Abruzzese, CBS’s (CBS: Research, Estimates) president of sales, told the paper. In contrast, commercial time on the game was sold out by the same time last year, when the Super Bowl aired on Walt Disney Co.’s (DIS: Research, Estimates) ABC network, the Journal noted.

Last year’s advertising blitz brought in especially strong sales, but other networks have typically had only 5 percent of their Super Bowl ad slots unsold just prior to the game, according to the paper.

This year’s lagging sales are just another indication of a slowing economy, as spending on ads is often one of the first places companies scale back, the paper said.

During the month before Super Bowl 2000, many dot-com companies looking for visibility paid some $2.4 million or more for 30-second Super Bowl spots.This year, many of the Internet start-ups that ran high-profile ads last year have since closed their doors, the Journal said.

Major marketers in other industries, struggling to meet earnings targets, find it hard to justify the expense of taking out a Super Bowl ad. Other companies are turning to less expensive forms of marketing, including direct mail and public relations, according to the paper.