Super Bowl Ads Still A "Touchdown" In Slow Economy

Posted By: Julia Boorstin

The economic downturn has taken its toll on the advertising markets, but still, big events are managing to be stronger than ever. The Olympics attracted unprecedented ad dollars, and now the 2009 Super Bowl has as well.

CNBC’s parent company, NBC has already sold about 75 percent of the big event’s commercial time, whereas in past years only 50 or 60 percent would be sold by now. These faster sales are particularly impressive considering the fact that prices are up some 10 percent this year to as much as $3 million for just a 30 second spot.

The Super Bowl has always been the best way to reach a broad American audience, and especially men. Why the big excitement this year? For one thing, there’s the fact that this past year’s game drew an unprecedented audience. And then there’s the reality of the ad market these days.

Advertisers are devoting more of their ad spend to Internet ads, but it seems like when they want that broad audience they aren’t willing to take risks, and the Super Bowl is a rare time when people are guaranteed to watch in real time.

And let’s not forget, overall television viewing is increasingly fragmented–the broadcast networks are losing viewers to cable, and the entertainment landscape as a while is more and more interested in targeting niche audiences. So the Super Bowl remains a national event, unlike many others.