Bumper Super Bowl as Budweiser tops poll again

NEW YORK - Sunday's Super Bowl XL was the biggest in a decade as almost 91m people tuned into watch the game on ABC as a Budweiser spot, featuring a streaking sheep, topped the poll of the most popular ads.

The Super Bowl audience for the game that saw Pittsburgh's Steelers beat the Seattle Sea Hawks 21-10 in Detroit was up 6% on last year and is the biggest draw since 1996, with 90.7m tuning in.

The size of the audience was a major fillip for Disney-owned ABC, which boosted ad rates in the run-up to the game, pushing the price for a 30-second spot to $2.5m (£1.4m), up 4% on last year's Super Bowl on Fox.

In the fourth annual AOL Super Sunday Ad Poll, Budweiser's "streaker", created by DDB Chicago, topped the poll. It featured horses lining up for a game of American football when a shorn sheep streaks on to the pitch.

The triumph for Budweiser follows an equally strong year in 2005, where Anheuser-Busch's "tribute" to American troops in the Gulf was the AOL Super Sunday Ad Poll winner, while Pepsi's Cindy Crawford commercial was the most viewed.

Second place in this year's poll went to a Fed Ex's spot "cavemen", followed by another Budweiser ad "barn", then two Bud Light spots.

The Budweiser "streaker" ad won 13% of the total votes in the poll, which began shortly after Super Bowl XL kick-off.

The ads were streamed more than 17m times with a total of 424,000 votes cast.

In a companion poll on AOL Sports, featuring some of the most famous historic Super Bowl commercials of all time, "Mean Joe Green"'s 1980 Coke commercial took the top spot with 30% of the vote followed by Apple's 1984.

1. Budweiser "streaker" 13%
2. Fed-Ex "cavemen" 12%
3. Budweiser "barn" 11%
4. Bud Light "man kitchen" 7%
-. Bud Light "office" 7%
5. Ameriquest "hospital"5%

The top Super Bowl historic commercials of all time were:
1. Coke "Mean Joe Green" 30%
2. Apple "1984" 20%
3. Reebok "Terry Tate" 13%
4. Pepsi "two boys" 8%
5. EDS "cat herders" 7%
6. McDonald's "showdown" 7%

Bernice Kanner, author of 'The Super Bowl of Advertising: How the Commercials Won the Game', said: "The Super Bowl has long been the biggest TV viewing event of the year, with 89m people tuning into the game last year. With the ads becoming an increasingly popular reason to watch the game, this highly anticipated event is the Super Bowl of advertising."

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