Most-Viewed Super Bowl Ever Also Breaks Ad Records

Sunday night’s thrilling thrashing of Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts at the hands of the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV wasn’t just the most-viewed show in TV history, with over 150 million people tuning into the CBS broadcast, it was also the most advertising-heavy Super Bowl in the history of the football season’s grand finale.

According to a report from Kantar Media that documents all of the ads and advertisers from Sunday evening, CBS ran just under 48 minutes of commercials (not counting their own promo pieces) during the game, several minutes more than last year’s record-setting telecast.

While some might argue this exhibits a willingness on the part of advertisers to once again spend big bucks on high-profile TV spots, Kantar also points out that Super Bowl XLIV featured the highest number of cheaper, shorter 15-second ads in almost a decade.

Additionally, this year saw the top four ad buyers (Anheuser-Busch InBev, Hyundai, Coca Cola, PepsiCo) dominate the night, accounting for 25% of all purchased ad time. Of note, though PepsiCo was a top-4 advertiser, none of their Super Bowl ads were for Pepsi beverages. The company ceded the floor to Coke and opted instead to spend their cash on pushing Doritos to the munching audience.

Also worth mentioning from the Kantar report is that 63% of the Super Bowl XLIV advertisers are not currently listed as Top 200 ad buyers, a 5% increase over last year and nearly double the 2001-2005 average, meaning that smaller companies chose to take advantage of the visibility the Super Bowl affords while the bigger names decided to stay home and watch the game (and the ads) on TV like the rest of us.

Kantar Media Provides Full Analysis of 2010 Super Bowl Advertising [Kantar Media]