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If you were shut out of yesterday's Super Bowl ad buy, don't despair. It's possible not only to equal the audience reach of one spot on the game, but to exceed it-and all for the same cool million that a 30-second spot cost in Super Bowl XXIX.

Taking the $1 million, it was relatively easy to construct schedules of regular prime-time shows that out-delivered the big game in terms of gross rating points.

However, for male targets, it is very difficult to exceed the reach of a Super Bowl buy. And among five hypothetical schedules we created, only one surpassed the Super Bowl in its reach of adult males.

For example, a schedule consisting of 30-second buys on 13 prime-time shows costing less than $100,000 each, could be bought for about $1 million and would deliver 78 gross rating points of viewers 2 years and older, more than twice the delivery of the Super Bowl's estimated 37 rating.

That prime-time schedule also delivers more rating points for every target audience than a Super Bowl buy.

But when comparing that prime-time schedule to a Super Bowl buy in terms of reach, the Super Bowl is still the champ among adult males, reaching 45% of men 18 to 49 and 48% of all men 25 to 54.

By comparison, the schedule of 13 prime-time shows reached only 38% of men 18 to 49 and only 44% of men 25 to 54, though it had greater reach than a Super Bowl buy for all other targets.

Despite the difficulties with men, we were able to top the Super Bowl's reach of men and all other target groups with a schedule comprised of two prime-time roadblocks: one on Sunday and one on Tuesday (see chart). And with money left over, we were able to afford a spot on "Cops" on Fox's Saturday schedule. All for $1,007,000.

None of our schedules used high-rated shows like "Seinfeld," "Home Improvement," "Frasier," "Roseanne" or "60 Minutes." They were too expensive.

For a male-targeted advertiser like a beer company, the Super Bowl may still be a good buy, but more general audience advertisers can do considerably better buying a schedule of regular prime-time shows for the same amount of money.M

Mr. Frydlewicz is VP-director of media research at Media Edge, a unit of N.W. Ayer & Partners, New York.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------Another way to spend $1,007,000

Two roadblocks were created. The first was on Tuesday ("Grace Under Fire"; "John Larroquette"; CBS' and Fox's Tuesday movies). The other was on Sunday (the three network movies plus "Married ... With Children" on Fox). With money left over, we were able to buy a spot on "Cops" on Fox's Saturday schedule.

Super Bowl GRP Reach

rating GRPs advantage Reach advantage

People age 2+ 37 67 +81% 48 +30%

Adults 18-49 40 65 +62% 49 +22%

Adults 25-54 42 78 +86% 52 +24%

Men 18-49 46 63 +40% 48 +7%

Men 25-54 48 68 +42% 49 +2%

Source: Media Edge

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