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Tweets, Spots and Carrot Sticks: the Modern Super Bowl
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Tweets, Spots and Carrot Sticks: the Modern Super Bowl

Now an integral part of the Super Bowl experience, commercials are no longer an opportunity to make a beer run, or take a bathroom break. A new Nielsen survey found that 91 percent of consumers planning to watch this Sunday’s game are also looking forward to watching the commercials. Funny commercials rank the highest among consumers (81%), a smaller group enjoy sentimental ads (25%) and just over one in four (26%) said they look forward to seeing ads for products they’ve seen in previous Super Bowls.

“The results of the survey tell us that consumers consider ads to be part of the main event rather than an adjunct to the event,” said James Russo, senior vice president of global insights at Nielsen.

And beyond the shift in the role of commercials in the Super Bowl, other classics aspects of the event are changing with the times.

Connecting Online to Continue the Conversations

Many consumers plan to use social networks to discuss the ads they watch during the big game. Eighteen percent of consumers said they plan to comment on the commercials both during and after the game using social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.

“Consumers are looking for sequels to ads that got a lot of buzz last year, and they plan to connect through social media to talk about the ads,” said Mr. Russo. “This is a huge opportunity for companies to engage their consumer and continue the conversation online.”

A large percentage of those consumers (62%) also said they plan to use social media to comment on the game as the teams compete.

Vegetables Outrank Pizza on Sunday’s Menu

Food and beverage (beer) are a key component of any Super Bowl party, and 71 percent of consumers say they plan on spending about the same amount of money for their supplies as they did last year. While traditional options–like pizza, salty snacks and Buffalo wings—are still among the top of the top-10 foods that consumers plan to eat and serve, fans are also making room for healthier food choices. Vegetables (36%) and fresh fruit/salad (27%) made the top 10 list of foods that consumers plan to eat and serve this year. Some of the healthier options even outranked some of the more traditional options (see table).

Top 10 Foods Being Eaten/Served

Salty Snacks 46%
Dips 40%
Vegetables 36%
Cheese & Crackers 30%
Appetizers 28%
Fresh Fruit/Salad 27%
Pizza 26%
Sweet Desserts/Candy 26%
Buffalo Wings 24%
Nuts 23%
Source: Nielsen

Consumers are Staying In to Watch the Game

There’s no place like home, and a majority of Americans plan to stay in to watch the game. Sixty-five percent of respondents say they will watch the Super Bowl at their home or at a friend’s home, and only 1 percent say they plan to watch at a bar or restaurant.

Tequila, Cognac and Prepared Cocktails are Growing in Popularity

Carbonated beverages are the most popular Super Bowl beverages, with 71 percent of consumers saying they plan on serving it. Beer (42%), wine (33%) and spirits/liquor (22%) are popular choices as well. Nielsen sales figures for the past three years show that tequila, cognac and prepared cocktails are also growing in popularity, evidenced by a spike in sales during the Super Bowl season.