Super Bowl spots selling fast, says CBS


CBS says it has less than a handful of remaining commercial slots for the big game. CBS has sold 95% of its 62 ad slots, Jo Ann Ross, president of network sales, told USA Today. This, despite the fact that the nation still is climbing out of the economic downturn and that two of the longest-running Super Bowl advertisers — Pepsi-Cola and GM—said they’ll pass on this year’s game.

The first half of the Feb. 7 game is sold out, says John Bogusz, EVP/Sales for CBS Sports. He says part of the reason for the brisk sales is that there is not one price for ads in the game. Advertisers say prices have ranged from a few 30-second slots as low as $2 million to some at up to $3 million. The first quarter costs most, the fourth quarter, least.

“It seems like every day I walk in the office, we’ve sold another one or two,” Ross says. “Sooner or later, there won’t be another one or two left.” At this point for the last CBS Super Bowl broadcast in 2007, Ross says, “We were sitting with 11 or 12 unsold units.”

Most game veterans are back, including Anheuser-Busch and Coca-Cola, along with four foreign automakers and a to-be-announced Detroit brand.

Doritos and CareerBuilder are sponsoring consumer-made ad contests. Doritos, which will air three consumer-created ads, is offering up to $5 million in cash prizes, including a $1 million bonus each if their ads win the top three slots in USA Today’s annual Super Bowl Ad Meter consumer rating of ads.

Doritos’ entries doubled from last year to 4,000, says Rudy Wilson, marketing vice president. There are entries from two celebrities: former football star Ed “Too Tall” Jones and rapper Flavor Flav.

HomeAway, an online vacation home rental service, spoofs National Lampoon’s Vacation in its first Super Bowl ad. “Consumer awareness of vacation rentals is still low,” CEO Brian Sharples says.