TNS Media Provides Full Analysis of Super Bowl Advertising Campaigns

NEW YORK – TNS Media released its annual post-game analysis of Super Bowl advertising, combining findings on this year’s brand face-offs, including top advertisers, commercial ratings, as well as the online buzz and traction generated by this year’s winners and losers.

“The Super Bowl is certainly a unique event because of its ability to command nearly national attention at one time, but it also demonstrates the impact that truly integrated advertising initiatives can have,” says Dean DeBiase, CEO of TNS Media. “Marketers work to ensure synergies between their traditional, online and in-store promotional activities, but not to the extent seen in the Super Bowl. The results seen here – from the ability of broadcast advertising to drive traffic to sites, initiate online conversations and have that emotional equity come full circle at retail – should serve as a catalyst to encourage deeper integration across all media platforms year round.”

A complete log of all commercials, their pod positions and actual creatives are available at:

TNS Media Intelligence Analysis: Advertising clutter, top advertisers and categories

Record-setting Level of Ad Time

Super Bowl XLIII featured a record-tying amount of network commercial time. Between the opening kickoff and the final whistle, NBC aired 45 minutes, 10 seconds of advertising messages. This includes paying sponsors, messages from the NFL and promotional plugs from NBC for its own programming. The past four games now occupy the top four spots in terms of Super Bowl ad clutter.

Network Ad Time (mm:ss)

In The Super Bowl Game


Total Ad


Brand Ads



2009 45:10 38:00 7:10
2008 44:30 36:35 7:55
2007 43:05 33:30 9:35
2006 44:15 36:55 7:20
2005 40:15 35:20 4:55
2004 41:55 34:00 7:55

Source: TNS Media Intelligence

Top Advertisers

A total of 32 different companies aired in-game spots for a total of 84 commercials. The top four advertisers (excluding program promotions aired by NBC) in terms of total ad time were Pepsico, Anheuser Busch InBev, General Electric and Viacom. This elite group accounted for 40 percent of the total paid ad time.

Top Advertisers In 2009 Super Bowl Game

Parent Company

Ad Time


# Units

Pepsico 5:30 8
Anheuser-Busch InBev 4:30 7
General Electric* 2:30 4
Viacom 2:30 3

*Excludes one minute of ad time for,

a joint venture of General Electric (NBC) and News Corp (Fox).

Source: TNS Media Intelligence

The softening ad market for 2009 Super Bowl spots led to speculation that General Electric divisions might be required to step in and buy unsold inventory to help out sister-company NBC. The movie studio and theme park divisions of GE have regularly advertised in previous Super Bowls on other networks, so it’s far-fetched to construe their presence in the 2009 game as the outcome of an inventory fire-sale.

What’s a ‘normal’ level of in-house ad activity for the Super Bowl broadcaster? The past four years have seen four different networks air the game. During this cycle, the advertising presence of the network’s owner has ranged from 30 seconds to 4 ½ minutes. GE’s 2009 footprint of 2:30 is larger than either News Corp in 2008 or National Amusements in 2007. However, it lags the 4:30 of air time that Disney-owned entities had in the 2006 telecast on ABC.

“In-House” Super Bowl Ad Time Purchases

(excluding the network’s TV program promotions)



Bowl Net

Network Parent Owner

mm:ss of Ads From

Parent Owner

2009 NBC General Electric* 2:30
2008 Fox News Corp 0:30
2007 CBS National Amusements 1:00
2006 ABC Disney 4:30

*Excludes one minute of ad time for,

a joint venture of General Electric (NBC) and News Corp (Fox).

Source: TNS Media Intelligence

Top Categories

Motion pictures continued to be the dominant Super Bowl ad category as Hollywood studios attempted to build awareness for upcoming releases. Nine different movies had in-game ads, a level on par with recent years. However, this year the studios opted for longer-length units as compared to 2008.

Non-alcoholic beverages also had a significant presence in the game but the competitive battlefront was a bit narrower than 2008. Pepsi and Coke again went head-to-head with their soda brands. But unlike a year ago, Coke abstained from promoting its non-soda brand lines and conceded that stage to Pepsi which ran spots for Gatorade and Sobe Life.

Reflecting the current tenor of the auto market, car manufacturers had a reduced presence with Audi, Hyundai and Toyota combining for just 3 minutes of air time. Supplementing this was another 2:30 of ads from auto-related advertisers Bridgestone (tires), and Castrol (motor oil) to keep the total category even with last year.

Leading Advertising Categories In 2009 Super Bowl Game
2009 Game 2008 Game
Product Category

# Unique


Ad Time


# Unique


Ad Time


Motion Pictures 9 7:00 7 4:00
Automotive 8 5:30 7 5:30
Auto Manufacturers 5 3:00 5 4:00
Other 3 2:30 2 1:30
Non-Alcoholic Beverages 6 5:30 8 7:30
Soft Drinks 4 4:00 3 4:00
Non-Soft Drinks 2 1:30 5 3:30
Beer 3 4:30 2 4:00

Source: TNS Media Intelligence

TNS Cymfony Analysis: Movie studios’ TV investment pays off with online buzz

Not only did the movie studios dominate TV ad time, they also dominated the discussion in the first 36 hours following the game: five of the ten most-discussed advertisers were movies. Almost half of the discussion of Super Bowl ads took place on social media sites focused on movies, video games, and entertainment news.

Most Talked About Advertisers

Advertiser Volume Index*
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen 737
Star Trek 500
Anheuser-Busch 476
GI Joe: Rise of Cobra 455
Doritos 387
Pepsi 309
Land of the Lost 261
Fast and Furious 221
Coca Cola 215
Hulu 198

Source: TNS Cymfony

*Volume index represents the amount of discussion for each advertiser, relative to the median amount of discussion for all Super Bowl advertisers. E.g. Transformers received over seven times the amount of discussion of the average advertiser.

While Doritos may have won the Super Bowl ad voting on USAToday, Anheuser-Busch bested all non-movie advertisers in the amount of discussion generated by their ads. Four of their ads generated strong positive discussion: Bud Light “Swedish,” Bud Light “Meeting,” Clydesdale “Stick” and Clydesdale “Circus.”

The advertisers that didn’t make the most-discussed list are also interesting: E-Trade “Talking Baby” and Audi “Chase” among them.

“This year, viewers engaged with ads about entertainment and affordable indulgences,” noted Jim Nail, Chief Marketing Officer of TNS Cymfony. “Financial services and automobiles are not on consumers minds so their ads, which have been popular in past years, didn’t resonate this year.”

TNS Cymfony’s analysis of traditional and social media showed that the volume of pre-game online discussion nearly doubled while media coverage increased 37%. “The spike in pre-game coverage and discussions emphasizes that marketers need to blend social media, traditional media, and buzz around the water cooler to maximize the ROI of expensive Super Bowl ads,” said Nail.

TNS Media Research Analysis: Second-by-second ratings

TNS Media Research analyzed audience viewing behavior during the game and the commercial breaks. The following highlights are based on unique second-by-second clickstream data collected from over 300,000 Households (HH) in the Charter Communications Los Angeles digital cable system:

  • On average, 29.8% of HH’s tuned into the game itself. The pre-game show averaged a 22% rating while over 23.4% of homes viewed at least one second of the post-game award presentation.
  • 5.3% of HH’s viewed the game on NBC-HD, representing close to 11% of the total audience.
  • As expected during the Super Bowl, few viewers tuned away from the commercial breaks during the game with the spot-to-program retention index averaging 100 (CVI). The highest commercial retention score went to the promotional ad marketing various USA network programs, which posted a 121 in the spot just after the game ended. During the post-game as viewing dropped from a rating of 32.l% to 23.4%, the commercial retention remained constant. The last pod, airing prior to The Office, averaged a CVI retention score of 95.
  • A second-by-second look at commercial avoidance reveals that about 1% of commercial seconds were avoided by channel changing.
  • Interestingly, the NBC-HD audience was even less likely to tune away, with only 0.8% percent of those seconds being lost, perhaps reflecting the fact that almost all of the Super Bowl advertising was presented in high definition.

TNS Compete Analysis: Super Bowl advertisers’ online presence

Top Gaining Advertiser Web sites

Web site

Change in Daily

Reach on Super Bowl

Day* 1679% 313% 148% 143% 104% 103% 78% 76% 69% 65%
Source: TNS Compete

*Represents the change in daily reach to the Web site from the average during the week preceding the Super Bowl. E.g. reach on the day of the Super Bowl was nearly 17 times higher than during the week leading up to the game.

Super Bowl advertisers ranged from those with strong, established online presences to “up and comers” to digital neophytes.

  • Anheuser-Busch – One of the Super Bowl’s top advertisers and most talked about brands came in third in growth in daily reach on Super Bowl Sunday., a site which has historically ranked among the top 30,000 US Web sites, saw its reach nearly double on Super Bowl Sunday.
  • Hulu – Despite the prominence of entertainment in ad time, this online video service (co-owned by NBC Universal, News Corp. and Providence Equity Partners) ranked near the bottom. The “Alec in Huluwood” ad, which did not present a clear call to action, can be found on
  • Dennys – Denny’s free Grand Slam Giveaway scored with Super Bowl viewers. Visitors to were rewarded with a reminder of the “Enjoy a Free Grand Slam” on the home page along with a convenient Restaurant Locator.

“It is not surprising that we see some of the most talked about advertisers at the top of the pack in terms of site traffic on Super Bowl Sunday,” according to Matthew Pace, Director of Retail, TNS Compete. “It’s more evidence that a strong call to action alone is not enough to engage consumers, you need to have messaging that resonates with the consumers you are trying to target, like a free breakfast.”

About TNS Media

Established in more than 30 countries, TNS Media explores all media – print, radio, TV, Internet, social media, cinema and outdoor worldwide, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and offers a full range of insights, analyses and audience measurement services.

TNS Media combines the deepest expertise in the industry to provide media and marketing intelligence including advertising expenditure monitoring, advertising creation monitoring, audience measurement, market influence analytics, online consumer behavior tracking, news monitoring, sports sponsorship evaluation and more. The TNS Media companies track more than 3 million brands and provide vital market intelligence to 16,000 customers around the world. For further information, please visit

About Kantar Group and TNS

The Kantar Group is one of the world’s largest research, insight and consultancy networks. By uniting the diverse talents of more than 20 specialist companies – including the recently-acquired TNS – the group aims to become the pre-eminent provider of compelling and actionable insights for the global business community. Its 26,500 employees work across 80 countries and across the whole spectrum of research and consultancy disciplines, enabling the group to offer clients business insights at each and every point of the consumer cycle. The group’s services are employed by over half of the Fortune Top 500 companies. For further information, please visit