Winners and Losers in the Super Bowl Ad Game
Which Super Bowl advertisers effectively drove their message home, and which fell short? More importantly, which successfully utilized online video and social media to get the most bang for their advertising buck?
Tues., Feb. 3, by Jim Hopkinson and Tejpaul Bhatia
Ah, the Super Bowl. Two teams meet on the field, nearly 100 million friends gather to watch the game at home, and ad agencies are charged with making a breakthrough TV commercial in only 30 seconds.
While those in the online marketing world live and breathe social media, we have to remember that outside our inner circle, there are still millions without Facebook accounts and that many think Twitter is a Looney Tunes character.
In this article, we analyze which companies effectively drove their message home, and which ones fumbled their big opportunity. After all, a TV spot during the big game is expensive; extending that brand to your audience via social media costs far less, and is often free. Plus, it was a guarantee that the ad was going to end up online on Hulu (where it would itself be sponsored by another advertiser; oh, the irony), which meant that targeting an online audience and offering some degree of social media interactivity should have been a no-brainer.
The commercials were judged on the following two criteria:
1) Was the spot effective in driving their marketing message?
2) Did the website deliver on that message
Super Bowl Caliber
The smart-talking baby commercials are hysterical, and may have just coined a new golf term, "shankopotamus." You watch the spot, you laugh, and you know what the product is about. Upon arriving at the website, there are links to view the commercials, including even more hysterical outtakes. Bonus: E*Trade bought the Google keyword "shankopotamus" (Figure 1).
Figure 1. E*Trade bought the Google keyword "shankopotamus." Smart.
The online job site had two marketing tactics, and they nailed them both. In the first, the "Need a new job" campaign was funny, and closed by saying that Monster has a redesigned website, with a call to action to check it out at Monster.com. Upon arrival there, they use clear, casually-shot online videos of employees to walk you through the new features. The second tactic was promoting their "Fandemonium" contest, co-sponsored by the NFL. The commercial was slick, and the microsite at NFL.Monster.com delivered.
The domain registration company is known for their puerile advertising campaigns, and this year was no different. Their brainstorming sessions may not have gone long before settling on "breast enhancement" and "computer geeks spying on women in a shower," but ask a viewer of the commercial three simple questions: What is the name of the company? What do they sell? Where would you go to buy their product? It is likely that person will ace all three. Upon landing on their website, you’re free to watch the "uncut" versions, and despite being a bit busy, the site has plenty of step-by-step guides to get you started.
This might be the definition of winning ugly. Ed McMahon looked like he is a step away from the grave, and MC Hammer’s serving as the poster boy for rapper’s excess has clearly jumped the shark. I won’t pass judgment on what message boards across the ‘net say about the legitimacy of the company (it isn’t good), but the intent of the ad and the website is crystal clear. A Google search, even using "for" instead of "4," yields 3 sponsored ads at the top, Super Bowl-specific ads to the right, and the # 1 natural search result. They’ve done their SEO homework.