Super Bowl remains a big bash, but ads toned down

Most ads have sold for about $3 million per 30-second spot — an all-time high price for the Super Bowl, which is the most watched event in the nation, with about 100 million U.S. viewers.The sales pace matched those of previous years and the network said it was in discussions on the remaining unsold spots. Most are in the fourth quarter, and tend to go for slightly less than other positions in the broadcast. “There is unrivaled attention surrounding the game,” said Brian Walker, senior director of communications at NBC Sports in New York. “As research confirms, it remains the most powerful vehicle for an advertiser to promote its brand and products.” While some high-profile advertisers have pulled the plug, many are staying put and some, such as Pedigree pet food, will appear in the Super Bowl for the first time. But the tone of some ads this year will reflect tough times.