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Ads make the Super Bowl more fun, many viewers say

Macintosh’s sledgehammer hurls toward Big Brother: The first Macintosh computer was introduced during the 1984 Super Bowl broadcast in a 60-second Orwellian spot done by “Blade Runner” movie director Ridley Scott.
2:13 p.m., Jan. 27, 2004--Perhaps a record number of viewers will see 30 minutes of the most expensive commercial time in advertising history when CBS broadcasts Super Bowl XXXVIII from Reliant Stadium in Houston on Sunday evening, Feb. 1.

Though CBS likely still had a few spots left early this week, perhaps for as little as $60,000 per second, time sold briskly despite declining interest in network television advertising, according to John Antil, associate professor of business administration in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics at UD.

“But,” according to Antil, an expert on commercial advertising during the big game, “the Super Bowl is, well, the Super Bowl, the only broadcast for which viewers want to see, evaluate and talk about the ads.”

About one-half of viewers believe the ads make the Super Bowl more enjoyable and claim to pay attention to all the ads, Antil said.

Although the commercials themselves traditionally tend to be male-oriented, about 45 percent of the 130 million viewers will be females, he said.

Guessing what viewers at the year’s top at-home party will see this year is difficult to say. “Unlike last year, when sponsors were paying public relations firms to promote and even show parts of the ads prior to the game, this year secrecy once again rules,” Antil said. “Though we will find out if the donkey can become a member of the Clydesdales and get a first look at Gillette’s new battery powered vibrating razor, most of the commercials will have to remain surprises.’

Antil said some “delicate” products will be featured in three erectile dysfunction brands and a toilet paper brand, the latter a first for Super Bowl advertising.

The Procter & Gamble Co., one of the world’s largest advertisers, held an internal contest to see which brand would get the honors. “Of course, Charmin won and will make it into the Bowl,” he said.

The erectile dysfunction brands have a real challenge in creating captivating ads for a product whose benefits are difficult to describe or show on television, Antil said, and they must do this within a commercial environment in which deviating from humor and entertainment has proven to be dangerous.

Conspicuously absent from the Super Bowl XXXVIII commercial line-up is Apple. “This is the 20th anniversary of the famous 1984 Apple Macintosh commercial that is often credited with making the Super Bowl the showcase for ads that it has become,” Antil said. “Apple has new products, a large ad budget and a history of interest in splashy, major events so let’s not be surprised if the computer company shows up at the ad event they helped create.”

That commercial, created by Ridley Scott, featured a world like that in George Orwell’s novel “1984” and has been nominated as one of the greatest Super Bowl commercials.

Article by Neil Thomas

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