Did The Super Bowl Ads Connect WithThe Web?

I’ve been doing this analysis now for six years and each year I am continually surprised by how Advertisers and the big NYC Madison Avenue agencies continue to miss out on the opportunity to leverage the web.  While things have improved over the years since my first Super Bowl ad analysis, some of the biggest players in the space still don’t get it along with their highly compensated Madison Avenue agencies.  If you are spending $3 million for a 30 second spot, Advertisers should pull out all the stops to do everything they can to get the most return on they investment by leveraging the web.

Here’s our rundown of this year’s best and worst Super Bowl Ads for integrating the web into their commercial spots:

Winners

GoDaddy – It has become an annual coronation as Bob Parsons has done it again, and in the process this year, to it up to another level.  Typically, the GoDaddy.com ads are just crass spots for the purpose of being crass.  The kickover to the web is more for crass shock appeal.  This year, GoDaddy.com added a comedic angle with Joan Rivers that helped them take the crown.  At some point, other Advertisers are going to eventually read the case study on successful web integration that GoDaddy.com re-writes each year.  Another standing ovation to Bob Parsons for continually showing us how to create a winning Super Bowl ad and impact your business tremendously each year.


Cars.com –  A surprise this year was Cars.com and its two solid 30 seconds spots.  With a sprinkle of humor, Cars.com effectively communicated with consumers about the value proposition it offers to it consumers and informs them to find out more about vehicle reviews at Cars.com.  The spot becomes even more valuable given the complete bungling by just about every car manufacturer that dropped the ball this evening by not expressing the product specifics around it vehicle models.  Great spots, good timing and great web integration.


GroupOn.com
– Another big Super Bowl ad winner.  The social shopping upstart doubled-down when the timing was right.  If you are going to spend $3 million, you want to bring awareness to a high growth industry vertical in order to bring it to maturity.  GroupOn did just that with its interesting spot featuring Timothy Hutton playing on goodwill to Himalyan countries with a comedic u-turn that is was a restaurant discount.  The spot effectively pushed people to their website and you can be assured they will obtain 1 to 2 million new email addresses captures that they can turn into customers.  Only negative is that competitor Living Social one upped them with a better spot that they position just before kickoff where ads cost significantly less for about the same number of eyeballs.  Either way, both were big winners this evening.

And as usual, all the movie production house nailed it with their ads.  Quick hitting trailers that reached a massive audience and pushed people into the movie websites to view the full trailer and other spots from the movie.  The movie productions have mastered the Super Bowl ad push and just seem to get more fluid with their integration and use of the web each year.

The Losers

Auto ManufacturersWhen are these companies and their agencies going to read basic research about how consumers shop before the purchase?  Depending on the research study you subscribe to, anywhere between 60% to 75% of consumers do research online before they purchase a car.  It is that figure why Cars.com plunged $6 million into Super Bowl ads, although they probably banked on those huge Madison Ave agencies to fumble the ball once again this year.  The standout loser of the bunch was Volkwagen/Audi, whose agency appeared to forget it was marketing its clients brand rather than its competition, forgot to mention a website URL and then marketed their client’s brand on Google search results while spending ad dollars to help promote YouTube.com.  My gosh, was the agency so lazy that they couldn’t create a splash page on the Audi or Volkwagen websites and embed the YouTube video? Triple whammy stupid by an agency that was clearly aiming for a “Betty White Moment” for self-promotion rather than generating sales and customers for its client. Mercedes got $3 million in free advertising…smart move!  That’s same agency’s misstep with tge VW Darth Vader was monumental as well, as I learned the Passat has an automatic starter.  Where can I find more info on the other features in the care that actually matter to a consumer.

Facebook Integration Missteps – PepsiMax, BudLight, Budweiser, Lipton’s Brisk and Skechers all made feeble attempts to drive fan page sign-ups and interactions as their call to actions.  As good as Kim Kardashian derriere looked in that Super Bowl ad spot, you need a little more reward on the backend (no pun intended) to get the consumer engaged.  Lipton’s was the big winner, turning in 11,000 new fans, while Skechers scored 4,000 fans.  Bud Light, Budweiser and PepsiMax each had generated less than 3,000 fans just hours after the game.  While these Brands should be given kudos for their attempt to integrate Social Media, they need to focus on giving the visitors something of value when they get there.  We aren’t going to “Like” you if you don’t give us a reason to.

ETrade – It is time to stop resting on the laurels of a winning spot and become a little more creative.  The babies were cute for about 15 minutes, but seriously lets flex some creative muscle.  We get it, ETrade thinks their system is so easy a baby can do it.  The spots simply just don’t do a good job anymore of presenting the ETrade business value proposition. What else do you got, why should I signup?  I tried to find those educational videos Enzo watched, but couldn’t find them on the website. How can I confirm if it is that easy if you aren’t giving me any tools except a link to replay the commercial to tease me about these education videos that allowed Enzo to retire!

On the whole, Advertisers are getting smarter and better at taking advantage of integrating the web to their ads. Six years ago, about 50% were getting a URL in their ads, where this year we see 90% had URL inclusion. That’s in itself is a big step forward. The biggest issue is still delivering something of value to the consumer if you ask them to visit you. GoDaddy.com, Cars.com and GroupOn.com delivered on that promise and are the case studies to follow that will reap the greatest return from their $3 million investment.

We are getting closer, but until Madison Avenue absorbs the fact that the web matters, we will continue to fall short of that 100% web integration goal. And even if we do get there, Madison Avenue needs to smell the coffee that flatulating on a Facebook page doesn’t deliver an ROI otherwise web integration with the Super Bowl will continue to fall flat.

About Tim Daly

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