Super Bowl ads take equal billing to game in 2009


Super Bowl ads remain a big draw for viewers, with over 54% of U.S. adults who expected to watch Super Bowl XLIII planned to tune in as much or more for the commercials as for the game. According to the latest Hanon McKendry poll conducted by Harris Interactive, 72% of U.S. adults planned to watch Super Bowl XLIII, up from 68% in 2008, with 34% of those anticipated viewers watching equally for the ads as for the game and 21% tuning in exclusively or predominantly for the commercials.

The 2009 poll also found that 30% of Super Bowl viewers say they are more likely to visit an advertiser’s Web site after seeing a Super Bowl commercial.

"This poll affirms the power of traditional broadcast advertising," stated Bill McKendry, founder and chief creative officer at Hanon McKendry/The Brand Consultants. "It also suggests a strong synergy between television and the Web. Not only are Super Bowl ads drawing people to the game, they’re driving Web traffic. And the growing role of the Web in Super Bowl campaigns is generating even more interest in the commercials themselves."

McKendry noted a historic correlation. "When commercial television broadcasting took off in the ’50s, everyone predicted it would be the death of radio. In reality, TV has generated more interest in music and radio personalities. That same synergy is happening today between the Web and TV, including television advertising."

The survey aims to quantify the draw of Super Bowl commercials among the more than 90 million anticipated viewers. Now in its fourth year, the poll found response similar to that of 2008, when 57% of U.S. adult viewers planned to watch as much or more for the ads. The query that gets at viewers’ likelihood to visit Super Bowl advertisers’ websites is new in 2009. This year’s poll results are reflective of actual 2008 post-Super Bowl online activity, when advertisers saw a 24% increase in Web traffic the day after the big game, a year when game viewership was at an all-time high.

The 2009 survey also confirms consistently high interest in the Super Bowl and the ads among women.

— The overall percentage of women who planned to watch the Super Bowl was up from 60% in 2008 to 67% in 2009, with the percentage of female viewers who would tune in as much or more for the ads remaining fairly constant — 62% in 2009 vs. 65% in 2008.

— At 36% (male) and 31% (female), a consistently high percentage of men and women who plan to watch say they’d do so equally for the game and the commercials.

— Female viewers are nearly three times more likely than male viewers to watch primarily for the commercials (31% of female viewers vs. 11% of male viewers).