Music Ads Score Low At Super Bowl

Napster, iTunes spots fail to excite.

Ads related to digital music that aired during last night's (Feb. 6) Super Bowl received a tepid response from consumers, according to the results of USA Today-sponsored focus group that monitored the commercials.

Napster's much-hyped ad fared the poorest. The USA Today panel of 289 consumers watching the Super Bowl spots ranked it as the least popular of the more than 50 advertisements that aired during the game last night.

In an ad that urged consumers to "Do the Math," Napster contrasted the cost of filling an iPod with à la carte download purchases from iTunes for $10,000 vs. filling a Napster To Go device for $15 per month.

Napster used the platform to launch a four-month, $30 million ad campaign on behalf of its new Napster To Go portable subscription service.

Napster wasn't alone in struggling to connect with consumers last night. An ad featuring Gwen Stefani and Eve heralding a second go-round of the Pepsi-iTunes free download giveaway also scored poorly (45th overall) with the focus group.

Another Pepsi-iTunes ad that focused on consumers hearing music through their Pepsi bottles did better -- it landed in the middle of the popularity pack (27th overall). Among other music-related commercials, an ad for a new MP3 player/camera from Olympus received a middle-of-the-road response, coming in at No. 25.

The average 30-second spot cost $2.5 million.

The game scored a 43.4 rating and 63 share in Nielsen Media Research's overnight measurement of 56 cities -- down 2% from last year, according to published reports. More than 85 million viewers are believed to have watched the game.