Super Bowl Advertisers Drop the Online Search Ball

5 02 2009

It’s been almost a week since the dust has settled from advertising’s biggest day,  Super Bowl Sunday and industry guru’s have had the chance to crown the winners and shame the losers. But in the digital age how do you crown a winner? Are we still gauging a spots success on recall? What is to be said of web traffic or search results? Nielson IAG indexed the Budweiser Clydesdale Stick spot as both the most-liked and the most-recalled. According to comScore ranked second as the top gaining Super Bowl advertiser in web traffic, behind GoDaddy.

Dropping $3 million on a spot surely makes any marketing manager a little nervous. So why did so many advertisers in the Super Bowl not follow up their big media buy with some sort of search-marketing plan? Some advertisers didn’t even show up in the first page of a Google search. According to an article on Advertising Age’s website, only one in five advertisers had a specific call to action to their website. However, 65% of the advertisers bought search terms related to their commercials. Slogans that advertisers spent $100,000 per second to brand were still available on Google after Sunday. How are these guys not getting the message? I can imagine a good percentage of Super Bowl watchers that are sitting in their living rooms watching the game with a computer in their lap. The fact that research companies are doing the research says one thing, but that advertisers could completely ignore the importance of making the online-offline connection is just annoying for someone in my fourth year of being in MSU’s advertising program, one word could epitimize what I’ve been taught—digital(group project is a close second).

Some of my favorite spots of the Super Bowl were Pepsi’s ‘Forever Young’, any montage that includes Bob Dylan, Bruce Lee, John Belushi and surfing has my vote. The split screen images transcended generations to relate back to the way Pepsi has branded themselves for the past four or so decades-the drink of your generation. The spot had a fresh, hip vibe that Gen Yer’s could appreciate and Baby Boomers could reminisce about.

Another spot I really liked was Hulu, not because of the creative or because I am a particular fan of Alec Baldwin(truthfully, before 30 Rock I despised him) but because the site is getting some mainstream attention. I was in a room of 12 people and only 2 knew what Hulu was, including myself.  In case you didn’t know before the Super Bowl, Hulu is a premium content streaming video that launched in March 2008 and is only currently offered in the United States. Although, it would not be in direct competition with YouTube, Hulu’s main reason for existence is in response to the demand for professional content to be regulated after copyright claims were brought against YouTube in recent years. Time will tell whether Hulu will be making the push for time slots on mainstream television, but their somewhat creepy spot last Sunday definitely raised some eyebrows.