Super Bowl Ads Are Also Playing To Win

This undated photo released by Nationwide Mutual Insurance shows Kevin Federline in the role of a fast-food worker in a clip from the Nationwide Super Bowl Ad "Life Comes at You Fast." The ad is scheduled to air during the Feb. 4, 2007, Superbowl.
AP Photo/Nationwide Mutual
Not all the competition at today's Super Bowl is on the field. Some of the most anticipated head-to-head battles will take place during the commercial breaks. Veteran ad-man Jerry Della Femina talks about some of the most anticipated commercials.

Ever wonder how much just one second of your attention is worth to an advertiser? You're about to find out.

For $2.6 million you can buy 30 seconds of air time at the Super Bowl. That's $86,000 a second — more than quarterback Payton Manning will be earning today. No wonder he makes so many commercials.

So let's look at this year's starting line-up: There's Budweiser, FedEx and Doritos, to name a few. They've made you laugh before.

For an ad guy like me, getting a good belly laugh out of an audience is like kicking a 60-yard field goal to win the game in overtime.

Budweiser continues to dominate the field. On-tap for this year: beer-swiping crabs and an adorable little pooch.

All in all Budweiser commercials never fail to please - except one unfortunate attempt three years ago which featured a flatulent horse that went over at my Super Bowl party like, well, a flatulent horse.

And which advertiser is taking the biggest risk today? I've got to say it has to be a company called Kings Pharmaceutical. They have produced a 60-second commercial with the American Heart Association.

But get this: in the "Make 'em laugh" spirit of Super Bowl advertising they are making a humorous commercial about heart attacks. Surely you've heard the phrase "as funny as a heart attack." These guys haven't.

How will this go over with 90 million viewers - most of them munching on fatty game-time snacks? My guess is it will be greeted with hostility.

60 seconds, $5.2 million dollars. CHA CHING!

By now, you've probably heard about the Doritos experiment — where amateurs competed online to make a commercial that will air tonight.

This is an idea to stretch that Super Bowl dollar and make it into an event. And it works great because, in all my years in advertising, I've learned that every one of those 90 million viewers thinks he or she could make a better Super Bowl spot than I could.

The truth is these Doritos commercials are quite good and when all you have to sell is the product's crunchiness - what could be bad?

So enjoy the commercials, because at these prices I'm predicting more and more advertisers are going to be fleeing for the Internet. Who knows, someday maybe you'll be able to watch a commercial-free Super Bowl. And that wouldn't be any fun at all.