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Super Bowl 2008

Which Super Bowl Ads Are Still Getting Chatter?

Depends on Whom You Ask, but E-Trade, Pepsi, A-B, Audi, Doritos and GoDaddy Make the Cut

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Who scored the most popular Super Bowl ad this year? The research referees are still trying to make the call.
Based on TiVo views, eTrade's talking baby was the most-watched Super Bowl ad.
Based on TiVo views, eTrade's talking baby was the most-watched Super Bowl ad.

If TiVo views are any indication, then a talking baby and Justin Timberlake were the most-watched stars of last night's Super Bowl ads. In the social-media space (blogs, community forums, social networks), the three marketers getting the most mentions the day after the game were Anheuser-Busch, Audi and GoDaddy, according to preliminary data from Cymfony, a unit of TNS Media Intelligence.

E-Trade and Pepsi scored the top two slots on TiVo's annual Super Bowl commercial chart. Based on the preliminary TiVo data, however, A-B's stronghold on the Super Bowl is starting to loosen. Of the beer marketer's seven spots, only one, "Cavemen," scored a slot in TiVo's top 10 -- and a seventh-place finish at that. Last year, Bud Light's "Language Course With Carlos Mencia" and "Rock Paper Scissors" finished first and second. TiVo based its rankings on the percentage of viewers who watched the ads in 'play' speed.

Todd Juenger, VP-general manager, TiVo audience research and measurement, observed that the overall popularity of beverage marketers broadened this year, with one beer, two soft drinks and two bottled waters in the mix. "I don't know what that says about society," he said.

Online buzz
The pregame buzz online painted a slightly different picture. While blog talk about A-B's ads was largely positive, reaction to Audi's ad, a spoof of a scene from the "Godfather" that depicts a bloody horse's head in a man's bed, and GoDaddy's ad, which featured a provocative Danica Patrick, was mixed, said Jim Nail, chief marketing and strategy officer for Cymfony. "With GoDaddy, the mixed opinions are about the appropriateness of the sexual innuendo, whereas the Audi reactions tend to be about understanding the connection between luxury cars and 'The Godfather,' which is probably even worse," Mr. Nail said.

All three marketers' ads were among the top-five most-talked-about spots in the week leading up to the Super Bowl. And according to Cymfony stats, pregame hype is usually a good indicator that an ad will be talked about after the game. But the glaring exception to that rule this year was Pepsi, which was lagging in social-media mentions today despite reigning supreme in pregame anticipation.

Mr. Nail said Pepsi's pregame mentions were concentrated on celebrity fan sites and teen-oriented sites, so "the real target audience, teens, had their say about it already."

Doritos' regular joes
TiVo's Mr. Juenger also pointed to the continued success Doritos found with its second user-generated contest submission. Doritos made a last-minute decision to run the ad -- which was the third-runner-up in last year's contest -- in this year's game. The ad, which features a giant mouse pummeling a man trying to trap it with a chip on a mouse trap, placed third on TiVo's chart, considerably higher than the snack maker's own professionally produced spot.

"Once again, the regular joes who had the idea for a commercial submitted to this contest and beat out a lot of renowned creative directors in their ability to make a winning Super Bowl ad," Mr. Juenger said.

Mr. Juenger said the Super Bowl commercials generally have higher viewership than the game itself. "It was true this year, and it's been true every year we've done this," he said. "But if you look at the graph of the game, it was steady from the kickoff to the final snap."

TiVo's top 10 Super Bowl commercials

1. E-Trade: "Baby" (spitting up)
2. Pepsi: "Justin Timberlake"
3. Doritos: "Mouse Trap" (user-generated)
4. Coca-Cola: "James Carville and Bill Frist"
5. Ice Breakers: "Carmen Electra"
6. Bridgestone: "Headlights"
7. Bud Light: "Cavemen"
8. Vitaminwater: "Horse Race"
9. Cars.com: "Plan B: Witch Doctor"
10. Life Water: "Thriller"

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Cymfony: Seven marketers still getting chatter (Brand, volume index, favorability index)

Anheuser-Busch, 2,582, 555
Audi, 1,400, 1,267
Pepsi, 1,363, 425
Coca-Cola, 1,236, 4,300
GoDaddy, 1,109, -119
Bridgestone, 1,109, 640
E-Trade, 909, 300

Watch all the Super Bowl spots on Adage.com.
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