Let's give Super Bowl advertising a little perspective.
In the time it takes a Hyundai to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph, the Korean car maker will spend $290,000 on the Super Bowl.In the time it takes the average man to apply a tissue to his bleeding chin, Gillette will spend about $120,000.
And if a burp lasts about a second, figure Coke is paying $22,000 for it.
Today's game between the 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals will feature not only the championship of professional football but the Super Bowl of corporate commercials.
Despite declining television ratings in recent years, the Super Bowl remains the premier advertising vehicle in America, an ego trip for companies and advertising agencies alike. With a record $50 million being spent just on the air time, the beer, cola and car companies are competing for stakes far greater than the $36,000 that will go to each member of the winning football team.
"It's a mega-event that's just too good to pass up," said Tod MacKenzie of Pepsi-Cola Co., which bought four minutes of Super Bowl time. "The competition off the field is just as intense as on the field at Super Bowl XXIII."
Advertisers are paying an average $675,000 - more than twice the usual evening rate and $25,000 more than last year's game - for a 30-second spot. And NBC had no trouble selling out.
That, despite the fact the games frequently are lopsided, leading many viewers to tune out well before the fourth quarter. Last year's telecast received a 41.9 Nielsen rating, representing the third straight year of decline. The 1982 game between the 49ers and Bengals set the record with a 49.1 rating. The rating figure represents the percentage of households with televisions tuned into the program.
But because companies every year can count on more people to watch the game than any other television program, they've used the Super Bowl as a launching pad for numerous products, ad gimmicks and jingles - and as a battleground to attack competitors.
Buying Super Bowl time or tying their products to National Football League promotions also entitles companies to Super Bowl tickets for use by their executives or customers. Although NBC wouldn't say how many tickets it hands out, a spokesman did acknowledge that the more commercials a company buys, the more tickets it gets.
In recent years, Super Bowl watchers have witnessed the birth of Anheuser-Busch's Spuds MacKenzie, Sears' Discover credit card and the Apple Macintosh computer.
Although no major product introductions have been announced for this year's game, at least a half-dozen companies will introduce new ad campaigns.
And there's no shortage of gimmicks this year aimed at making a particular company's commercial the topic of conversation - behind, perhaps, the game itself - on Monday morning.
Coca-Cola is sponsoring the 12-minute halftime show in 3-D, handing out 20 million pairs of special cardboard glasses at grocery stores nationwide. A 45-second, 3-D commercial at the end of the show promotes Diet Coke. With a total estimated Super Bowl audience of 120 million, most of the country will see the flat version.
The company had to find something to do with the glasses, which were manufactured at a cost of about 25 cents a pair last year for a special episode of ABC's "Moonlighting." The program never aired because of a strike by television writers, and the glasses have been gathering dust in warehouses ever since.
Given Coke's effort, Pepsi is not about to concede the Super Bowl to its chief rival.
On the day last month that Coke released details of its halftime plans, Pepsi countered by announcing it would host a football player talent show during the pregame show - even though the company hadn't yet signed a contract with the network, according to an NBC source.
The contract for "The Diet Pepsi Talent Challenge" eventually was signed, and viewers will get to see players representing six NFL teams demonstrating their talents in song, dance, comedy or whatever else they can do.
Both companies are pushing diet drinks, today's hottest battleground in the $40 billion soft drink market.