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The Cost of Super Bowl Ads Go Down

The cost of a 30-second ad for this year’s Super Bowl has fallen for only the second time in the event’s history.  TNS Media Intelligence said that 30-second slots during the Feb. 7 Super Bowl on CBS are selling for between $2.5 million and $2.8 million. This means a drop from last year, when ads averaged a record-setting rate of $3 million on NBC.

For the first time in 23 years, Pepsi will not be advertising its soft drinks during the game, and General Motors, historically a major advertiser from past years, will not be not taking part, having dropped out in 2009 because of its financial difficulties. FedEx, another big advertiser, passed up the costly opportunity.

It’s unclear how much revenue Super Bowl advertising will generate for CBS. As of Friday, only four of the 62 commercial slots remained to be sold. While not conceding that ad rates have slipped, CBS said the pace of sales has been better than it was for NBC a year ago.

An estimated 100 million viewers will tune in, and the ads are almost as talked about as much as the game itself. Brands vie to air the funniest or the cleverest commercial, which can now have a long second life on the Internet.

CBS says it has now nearly sold out the 62 slots available, which indicates a better business position than what rival NBC had managed in last year’s big game.

According to the consulting firm TNS Media Intelligence, the “recessionary environment” meant that CBS needed to offer special deals to tempt advertisers. A spot still offers an “unparalleled opportunity for brand marketing efforts. The cost of a 30-second slot is still one-third higher than a decade ago.”

“The Super Bowl remains a singular event for engaging the broadest number of consumers at one time,” said Mark Nesbitt, president of TNS Media Intelligence. “Because it is viewed live and experienced by a majority of the country at the same time, a commercial presence on the broadcast has great significance and impact for a brand.”

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