Viewers differ in reasons to watch the Super Bowl

Sunday, February 1, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:35 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 13, 2008

Men and women alike will be parked in front of televisions on Super Bowl Sunday, but not all of them will be watching for the same reasons.

A nationwide on-line survey conducted by comScore in January 2003 found that one out of six viewers said they watched the Super Bowl only for ads, and most of the viewers interested in just the ads were women.

Dan Corkery of Columbia, broadcast marketing director of Visionworks Mar-keting and Communication, said he can’t dispute the polls findings.

"Generally, men and women watch games together, but are watching for different things," he said.

This year’s ad lineup will be mostly targeted to men, returning to a tradition that had been present from the first Super Bowl in 1967 through the 1980s — featur-ing ads about products such as cars, beer, motor oil and shaving cream.

Since the 1990s, Super Bowl advertisers have taken a greater interest in women.

This year, masculinity is once again front and center.

Gillette is back after a decade with the most expensive spot of $2.3 million for each 30 seconds, and it will present a 21st century version of a previous ad that dates to 1989. There will be ads for beer and cars, sales pitches for two erectile dys-function drugs — even a commercial for bathroom tissue that features football players.

MU Journalism Professor Mary Kay Blakely, a contributing editor to Ms. magazine since 1981 and former Hers columnist for The New York Times, said, “The preponderance of male-oriented ads is economical nonsense, like a ‘back to the future’ campaign. It will be interesting to see what it turns out to be, if it works."

"It feels as if we were going back 20 years, as if there were this cultural tendency, supported by the media, of making women invisible again," Blakley said. "It might be that the advertisers won’t even lose profit out of this choice, since women have metabolized the process of not being directly addressed to and still feel included. They might not even notice and go out and buy."

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