Advertising experts say big game is unharmed by ad-skipping technology

Goulet nuts

Nut snack company Diamond Foods said it chose the Super Bowl to launch a new ad featuring Robert Goulet, shown here, because the company knows more people will be paying attention during the commercial breaks.

The Super Bowl has long been considered the pre-eminent television advertising event of the year, not just because millions of Americans tune in but because many of those viewers stay put specifically to watch the ads.

Now, thanks to sophisticated television-recording technology such as TiVo, some say the allure the Super Bowl holds for advertisers could grow even stronger. That’s because millions of Americans are now using services like TiVo and its ilk to zip through commercials on other shows, leaving the Super Bowl among the few broadcasts that will be watched straight through by almost everyone who tunes in.

“The Super Bowl is the least affected by the TiVo effect because it’s live,” said Bob Garfield of Advertising Age magazine. “Hardly anyone watches the Super Bowl on Thursday.”

Super Bowl Sunday, which falls this year on Feb. 4, has the added benefit of being a showcase for some of the best ads of the year. The curiosity about what companies will do to entertain — or annoy — viewers offers further protection for advertisers against the scourge of digital video recording, or DVR.

Josh Bernoff, principal analyst with Forrester Research, said Super Bowl ads remain so highly anticipated that people may not even get up to go to the bathroom during the commercial break, let alone hit the fast-forward button.

In fact, some experts say, those who do record the Super Bowl may be doing so specifically so they can watch the ads again later while using the fast-forward button to skip through the game.

In general, the growing prevalence of DVR technology has been seen as bad news for companies that traditionally rely on television advertising. A survey of 133 advertisers done last year by Forrester Research found that 63 percent of advertisers believe such TV-recording technology will reduce the effectiveness of the 30-second television commercial. Another 6 percent thought such technology would destroy the effectiveness of those TV commercials.