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Tough Times Change Role Of Super Bowl Ads

With Super Bowl ads costing as much as $3 million for a 30-second spot, some marketers are wondering if they can afford them this year. And if they can afford them, will such advertising seem overly extravagant to scrimping consumers?

"With this much money on the line, it can reflect negatively on companies, especially if they are cutting staff or getting a government bailout," says Steve Lanzano, MPG executive. For instance, FedEx, a loyal Super Bowl advertiser, is concerned that shelling out big bucks this year, when it's "asking employees to do more with less" will look "wrong," says an insider.

Indeed, NBC seems to have experienced slowing ad demand over the past few weeks. Eight Super Bowl slots have been sitting unfilled since September.

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