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CBS Expected to Make $200 Million on Super Bowl Ads

Aired January 26, 2001 - 4:36 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: One hundred and thirty-five million people, or thereabouts are expected to watch at least part of the game on Sunday. But admit it, how many of you are really going to tune in just for the commercials?

CNN's own Michael Okwu has been doing a little research on that.

Michael, what are we going to be watching?

MICHAEL OKWU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Joie, you know the advertisers are banking on the fact that every one of those 135 million people will stay tuned for the commercials. After all, they're shelling out $2.3 million for every 30-second spot. In the past, that kind of investment has paid off handsomely, in most cases.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OKWU (voice-over): A clown who thinks he's a cowboy; people who pop through their roofs; and rugged Spaniards risking life and limb not to run with the bulls.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: If you lose respect for the squirrels, you will have problems during the running.

OKWU: It's that time of year again. Super Bowl Sunday means more than 135 million expected viewers, a virtual bonanza for advertisers.

SCOTT DONATON, EDITOR, "ADVERTISING AGE" The headline is this is the year of the not-com. Last year was the dot-com Super Bowl, and this is back to advertising made by adults, advertising that people will understand, ads for brands that they know and recognize.

OKWU: Last year over a dozen would-be cyber-giants accounted for over 40 percent of the commercial time during the game. Experts say overspending and a decline in the economy put an end to their swagger.

This year, only three dot-coms are staying in the game, including E-trade, Monster.com and HotJobs.com.

RICHARD JOHNSON, PRESIDENT AND CEO, HOTJOBS.COM: And if you look at the companies that are there, you know, it's the three companies that can look back at last year's Super Bowl and say, it worked for us. OKWU: Despite the flight of dot-coms and a soft advertising market, CBS says advertisers paid a record average $2.3 million per 30-second spot. That's $76,667 a second. There's a lot at stake; experts estimate more than 10 percent of the audience will tune in solely for the commercials.

BBDO Worldwide represents eight clients who have bought ads during the game.

TEDD SANN, CO-CEO, BBDO NEW YORK: You got to wake them up and you got to get their attention and you got to make them listen to this message; so that's no easy thing.

OKWU: They're trying to stand out from the pack with dolls you want to crunch; a former senator peddling a product that gives him more pep.

BOB DOLE, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... a product that put real joy back in my life.

OKWU: He'll be up against Levi's Super Bowl debut -- a dog with a hankering for intergalactic travel and a man with -- well -- a hankering.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I got just the thing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OKWU: I should also tell you sources say CBS expects to make more than $200 million from the ad sales alone that night. And with the debut of "Survivor 2," which follows the game, CBS brass also expects to produce the highest revenue generating night in television history.

And here's a tip for you, Joie: 30 minutes after the Super Bowl ads air, you can go to a Web site at www.AdCritic.com and see all the ads you want.

CHEN: The only time that we'll go looking for TV commercials.

Thanks very much, Michael Okwu joining us from New York.

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