SUPER BOWL'S ADS SCORED WITH FANS
By HOLLY M. SANDERS
February 9, 2007 -- The old notion - dear to advertisers and agencies alike - that more people watch the Super Bowl for the commercials than the game turns out to be almost right.
During Sunday's broadcast on CBS, the ads on average garnered a 32.1 rating and were watched by 92.8 million people, compared with a 32.8 rating for the actual game, according to new Nielsen figures.
The small drop-off indicates that while a few viewers skip past or tune out the commercials, most stick around during the breaks.
Despite all the hoopla surrounding the eye-catching spots, this is the first time Nielsen has included commercial ratings, as well as DVR playback and Internet buzz, in its Super Bowl ad report.
In the past, the company stuck to totaling the advertisers and the number of spots.
The move comes as the TV ratings giant rolls out a controversial new system that counts how many viewers watch the ads.
Nielsen is forging ahead with the project despite confusion in the industry and complaints from cable networks about glitches.
According to yesterday's Super Bowl report, the highest-rated commercial was Hewlett-Packard's spot, featuring Paul Teutul Sr. of "American Chopper," in the fourth quarter. The ad, which aired at 9:25 p.m., drew 99.5 million viewers.
A Toyota Tundra spot came in second, followed by a FedEx at No. 3. Rounding out the top five was a network promo for CBS's crime-show drama "CSI," and Nationwide's ad starring wannabe rapper Kevin Federline.
A total of 101 separate commercials aired in the game, including some 60 paid advertisers. The remainder was in-house promotions for CBS shows.