Super Bowl Gains Traction With Women

NEW YORK In the last 10 years, the percentage of women watching the Super Bowl between the ages of 18-54 has increased by 8 percent, according to data provided by the Nielsen Co.

Despite this growing female audience, 35 percent of the commercials are still targeted towards male viewers. In fact, during the 2008 Super Bowl telecast, men generally seemed to enjoy the commercials more than women.

According to Nielsen, approximately 25 percent of all commercials were “better liked” by men than by women; about 7 percent were “better liked” by women than by men, and the rest were “gender neutral.” Even during the various entertainment awards shows — where advertisers presumably make a concerted effort to target women viewers — these proportions are about the same.

The most popular commercials among male viewers that aired during the 2008 Super Bowl were Bud Light’s “Ability to Breathe Fire” and cavemen spots; Audi’s Godfather-themed ad; a Victoria’s Secret effort;’s commercial; and Tide’s “To Go” spot featuring “the talking stain.”

Among female viewers, popular commercials included eTrade’s “talking baby” spot; T-Mobile’s ad featuring basketball star Charles Barkley announcing he’s added fellow hoopster Dwayne Wade to his favorite “five” on his mobile phone; and, featuring a woman whose heart pops out of her chest.

The 2008 Super Bowl was the highest-rated TV show in the U.S. for the year and was viewed by a record 97.5 million people — more than any previous Super Bowl.

And, as expected, 42.9 percent of those viewers were males 18 years and older (45.8 million viewers). However, according to Nielsen, 37.7 million women over the age of 18 were also watching.

Adweek is a unit of the Nielsen Co.