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2008 Super Bowl Ads Increase Online Integration

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028homespunweb.jpgRISMEDIA, Feb. 8, 2008-This year’s Super Bowl drew an estimated 97.5 million viewers. With such a captive audience, advertisers strive to create that one commercial that viewers will remember and dub their favorite. Increasingly, this has meant engaging the viewer to participate with online interaction. Each year, SendTec, Inc., a multi-channel integrated direct marketing agency, conducts an analysis of which advertisers effectively connected their TV commercials with their online strategies.

This year, SendTec found that 64% of Super Bowl advertisers included a website in their ad; however, just 12% of the ads actually called out the website in the voiceover.

There are several advertisers that you expect to see each Super Bowl and sometimes they make us laugh, sometimes they pull a sentimental tear or sometimes leave us wondering what the point of their ad was. The top big brand disappointments for online integration are Doritos, Pepsi and Victoria’s Secret.

Doritos - The stage was set for a beautifully integrated campaign. The winner of a user generated content campaign got to sing their song in a Super Bowl commercial. The Doritos ad did feature a website at the end of the commercial; however, it was too small to read and flashed by quickly, making it difficult to distinguish. When viewing the ads on MySpace, consumers needed to press “pause” to see the URL. Searches on the song title “Message From Your Heart” yielded no presence for Doritos or the micro site www.snackstrongproductions.com. Furthermore, the other Doritos ad featured an oversized mouse and a failed attempt to capture it in a mousetrap. Like the first ad, Doritos failed at directing viewers to their website as the same URL flashed across the screen too quickly.

Pepsi - It was interesting to see that Pepsi’s ads were featured in the first half of the Super Bowl and Coke’s were featured during the second half. Pepsi’s first ad was promoting Diet Pepsi Max, a caffeine infused beverage. The Night at the Roxbury spoof is somewhat overdone at this point in time, so the only humor in this ad was Joe Buck’s head bobbing. While Pepsi does have an ad on search engine result pages for “Diet Pepsi,” they appeared lower than Diet Coke on these keywords!

Victoria’s Secret - As the first Super Bowl ad since 1999, Victoria’s Secret created a compelling ad that tied the end of the football season with Valentine’s Day. While the ad secured exposure for the company among the other big dollar advertisers, Victoria’s Secret missed the chance to call out their website.

So, who were the big winners Sunday night? The advertisers who successfully engaged consumers offline and then transferred that engagement online were Tide, CareerBuilder, E*TRADE, FedEx, Audi and GoDaddy. What did they do so differently that made them stand out?

Tide - The talking stain commercial, promoting the Tide Pen, was captivating and the spot called consumers to participate online by sharing their own stories. This spot was apparently much more effective than Tide had planned. It took five minutes of refreshing to get the site to load properly. Most likely, they were getting more traffic than the server’s bandwidth was equipped to handle. Another possibility may be related to improper testing to their website and servers.

CareerBuilder - They weren’t monkeying around this year. Their ad’s message was very clear: wishing won’t get you a better job. The commercial tagline stated, “Visit CareerBuilder and Start Building.” With a clear call to action and ads easily found on searches for “Super Bowl commercial” and “better job,” CareerBuilder captured their target audience. In another example of bidding on competitors’ keywords, Monster.com is bidding on CareerBuilder’s “Follow Your Heart” slogan.

E*TRADE - Everyone loves babies and what is better than a baby – a funny, talking baby. Not only did E*TRADE capture laughs throughout the country, they captured the online user with a nicely executed integrated strategy. E*TRADE ads appeared on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s) for “super bowl commercial” with a message that tied in a Super Bowl theme and a reference to the baby ads.

FedEx - The commercial featured a pigeon mail delivery system. It was humorous and drew viewers with the logical question, “What about the big stuff?” FedEx had the first paid listing on searches for “Super Bowl Commercial.” The paid search ad read, “See what happens when an office uses Carrier Pigeons for shipping – fedex.com/pigeons.” This demonstrates an online campaign that had a consistent message carried throughout online and offline campaigns.

Audi - The Audi Godfather ad also executed a seemingly integrated campaign. The luxury car manufacturer utilized keywords like “Godfather,” “Godfather Ad,” “Audi Commercial” and “R8.” In addition, the URL is displayed at the end of the commercial with a branding message (www.truthinengineering.com).

GoDaddy.com - Each year, GoDaddy sets the bar a little higher for Super Bowl advertising. Despite challenges in getting a commercial approved by FOX, the dotcom spun the drama in their own favor. GoDaddy Founder and CEO Bob Parsons stated, “Make lemonade out of lemons” and GoDaddy did just that with a commercial for a commercial. They showed someone at a Super Bowl party going online to the GoDaddy site to see content that could not be shown on TV. With that strategy, GoDaddy peaked the consumers’ interests and in essence turned a 30 second TV spot into a much more lengthy engagement with viewers visiting their website. The GoDaddy site had half-million visitors in the first 30 minutes and its traffic during the 2008 Super Bowl was up 2,434% over last year’s Super Bowl traffic. They also did a stellar job of integrating their paid search campaign as GoDaddy purchased more than 500 keyword phrases including: “Super Bowl ad(s),” “Super Bowl commercial(s)” and “domain,” all of which had Super Bowl themed ad copy and a strong offer of $6.99 dotcom domains. When SendTec spoke with Parsons following the Super Bowl, he stated, “It is definitely our most effective ad in terms of immediate results.”

The good news is that integrated advertising strategies are becoming the norm. In past years, the number of winners has been small. Advertisers could make the list simply by adding a URL to their Super Bowl commercial. Times are changing and advertisers realize that consumers are doing more online. Activities such as increased researching, more price comparisons and an influx of buying and consumer engagement online are proving to be valuable customer relationship management (CRM) tactics.

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