Audi Goes Against Grain, Buys 60-Second Super Bowl Ad

By Curtis Eichelberger

Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) — Audi AG bought a 60-second television commercial to promote its automobiles during this year’s Super Bowl at a time when regular advertisers like FedEx Corp. and General Motors Corp. decided to pass on the National Football League championship game.

“We’ve gained two points of market share this year,” Audi Chief Marketing Officer Scott Keogh said in an interview. “We think when others are hitting the brakes, we can make gains.”

General Electric Co.’s NBC, which will broadcast the Super Bowl from Tampa, Florida, on Feb. 1, is “approaching 90 percent” sales of an initial inventory of 67 30-second commercial spots, according to network spokesman Brian Walker.

Each 30-second advertisement was priced at $3 million, according to a report in USA Today.

NBC projects this season’s Super Bowl will score ratings at least as good as Fox’s broadcast of last season’s championship, network senior vice president Seth Winter said in a September interview. The New York Giants’ upset win over the New England Patriots drew a record audience of 97.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen Co.

Audi of America advertised during last year’s championship game for the first time in 20 years. The company says the Audi R8 sports car became the top search term on Internet search engine Google immediately following the ad’s airing.

To contact the reporter on this story: Curtis Eichelberger in Washington at

Last Updated: December 11, 2008 14:58 EST