RealTime IT News

Super Bowl Ads Climb to $2M Apiece

Some Internet companies are paying more to advertise on January's Super Bowl broadcast than they have generated in revenue, helping to push the average commercial price to a record of about $2 million.

Dot com advertisers, estimated by industry observers to have bought about 20 percent of the available commercials during the Super Bowl, want to use the game as "a showpiece for their Internet address and to say to the world that we are playing with the big boys,'' Bill Croasdale, a commercial buyer at Western Initiative Media, told the Associated Press.

Angeltips.com, which matches entrepreneurs with capital, is paying $2 million for Super Bowl exposure with money it raised from European and Asian investors.

Computer.com, a five-month-old company with less than $500,000 in revenue, is spending about $3 million for an advertising package during the game on Jan. 30 on ABC television.

"If I had to spend 10 times that amount, I could still probably rationalize the return,'' Michael Zapolin, chief executive and a co-founder of Computer.com, told the AP.

As many as a dozen dot com advertisers are expected to rub shoulders with Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi-Cola, Federal Express, Visa and other longtime Super Bowl advertisers on the Jan. 30, 2000 telecast on ABC.

Marvin Goldsmith, ABC's head of sales and marketing, declined to comment on the prices but said a strong economy and advertisers' renewed appreciation of broadcast TV's ability to reach a huge audience have helped sales.

"We have not generated a dime yet," conceded Ethan Russman, marketing director of Angeltips.com, which is paying $2 million for Super Bowl exposure with startup money.

Russman compared Angeltips.com's recently launched Web site to a dating service' that matches entrepreneurs with investors looking for new business concepts. He said the exposure from the ads should build credibility and trust for the company.

Another new Super Bowl sponsor is Ourbeginning.com, an online stationery superstore that specializes in wedding invitations, birth announcements and notices of other significant life events.

The company, founded in March, expects to generate less than $1 million in revenue for its first year, according to chief executive and founder Michael Budowski.

But he said it is spending $3.5 million to $4 million for a Super Bowl package that includes one commercial in the game, four ads before the game and an exclusive sponsorship of a 30-minute pregame program.

Monster.com and Hotjobs.com are back for this January's Super Bowl.

Other dot-com advertisers currently on board for this Super Bowl include Pets.com, which has been selling pet supplies online for about a year; KForce.com, a job service aimed mainly at professionals that has been online for about five months; and screamingmedia.com, which organizes editorial content for Web site operators.

E*Trade Group, the online brokerage, is sponsoring the half-time show and has purchased several ads in the game and pregame shows.

Oxygen Media, a company that offers information online and is launching a cable TV network, bought a Super Bowl commercial in what will be a rare appearance in the game for an advertiser targeting women.