Byline: Donna De Marco, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The ads during Super Bowl XXXIX won't be as risque as last year's flatulent horse, crotch-biting dog or the breast-baring halftime show.
The National Football League and Fox, the network carrying the premier sports event, has kept a careful watch over Sunday's advertising.
The network rejected an ad for Airborne, a cold remedy, which showed a few seconds of 84-year-old Mickey Rooney's naked backside. And Anheuser-Busch, the game's biggest advertiser, nixed an ad that spoofs singer Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" during last year's halftime show.
"There's no doubt the NFL and Fox are being a little more protective of the Super Bowl," said Greg Clausen, executive vice president and director of C-K Media, the media planning and buying arm of ad agency Cramer-Krasselt, which produced three 30-second spots for CareerBuilder.com this year.
Last year's halftime show triggered a crackdown on indecency on the airwaves. The Federal Communications Commission, which received 530,828 complaints, slapped CBS, the network that carried the game, with a $550,000 fine for airing the incident on its broadcast stations.
The FCC proposed a dozen fines last year, all against broadcast television and radio stations but none against advertisers.
"Marketers understand what the mood is," said Lou D'Ermillo, a spokesman for Fox Sports told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I don't think anybody who is at the cutting edge of where pop culture is wants to subject themselves to the type of scrutiny" given the halftime show last year and several ads that were offensive to some, he said.
Advertisers are paying a record $2.4 million for a 30-second spot during Sunday's game between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. That's $80,000 a second.
It's no surprise, though. The Super Bowl is the most-watched TV event of the year, attracting nearly 90 million viewers last year.
"For the right advertiser, it's an incredibly powerful tool," Mr. Clausen said.
As of earlier this week, Fox had just a few ad slots left.
Many viewers tune in primarily for the commercials. In a survey conducted by strategic communications firm Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates Inc., nearly 60 percent of those surveyed said they would rather miss some of the game than any of the commercials.
Advertisers are being careful not to cross the line into inappropriateness this year, but some say that's not going to get in the way of the quality of the …